A systematic review of complementary medicine for infantile colic

January 01, 0001

A systematic review of complementary medicine for infantile colic

Infantile colic can be a distressing issue for parents, and complementary and alternative medicines are sometimes advocated. These UK researchers performed a systematic review of randomized clinical trials of complementary and alternative medicines as treatment for infantile colic. They searched five electronic databases along with the resultant reference lists. Methodological quality was determined using the Jadad score and the Cochrane risk of bias.

The researchers found: "Fifteen randomized clinical trials met the inclusion criteria and were included. Thirteen studies were placebo controlled. Eight were of good methodological quality. Eleven trials indicated a significant result in favor of complementary and alternative medicines. However, none of these randomized clinical trials were without flaws. Independent replications were missing for most modalities."

The researchers concluded: "Some encouraging results exist for fennel extract, mixed herbal tea, and sugar solutions, although it has to be stressed that all trials have major limitations. Thus, the notion that any form of complementary and alternative medicine is effective for infantile colic currently is not supported from the evidence from the included randomized clinical trials. Additional replications are needed before firm conclusions can be drawn."

Complementery medicine may be beneficial for infantile colic, but there is not sufficient evidence to determine definitively.

For the full abstract, click here.

Pediatrics 127(4):720-733, April 2011
© 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics
Nutritional Supplements and Other Complementary Medicines for Infantile Colic: A Systematic Review. Rachel Perry, Katherine Hunt, and Edzard Ernst.

Category: D. Digestive. Keywords: infantile colic, complementary medicine, supplements, fennel, sugar, systematic review, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 17 May 2011

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.