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Mapping review

Treatment of infant colic

The Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services was asked by the Norwegian Pharmacy Association to review national and international research concerning treatment of infantile colic.

The Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services was asked by the Norwegian Pharmacy Association to review national and international research concerning treatment of infantile colic.


Key message

Background
The Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services was asked by the Norwegian Pharmacy Association to review national and international research concerning treatment of infantile colic.

Objective
The aim of this report was to answer the following question: What are the effects of treatments for infantile colic?

Methods
We systematically searched for literature in relevant international databases, we included articles that met our inclusion criteria, and critically appraised and summarised the results descriptively.

Results
We summarised results from four systematic reviews and found that the following interventions might somewhat reduce the duration of crying:

  • Advise parents to reduce stimulation of the child
  • Cows’ milk free formula to child

Use of sucrose may have an ameliorating effect on infant colic. There is great uncertainty about the effects of the other evaluated options in the included overviews.

Conclusion
Our review shows four promising interventions that might reduce infant crying duration. The interventions are reducing stimulation of the child, use of sucrose and cows’ milk free formula to child. These results must be interpreted with great caution because of great methodological concerns regarding the individual studies included in the reviews.

Summary

Background
The National Knowledge Centre for Health Care was commissioned by the Norwegian Pharmacy Association to produce a systematic review of the present knowledge about the effect concerning treatment of infant colic.

Objective
The aim of this report was to answer the following question: What are the effects of treatments for infantile colic?

Methods
We performed a systematic search for articles in the Cochrane Database of Systemic

Reviews (CDSR), Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE Cochrane), HTA, Medline, Embase, British Nursing Index, SveMed, MIDIRS, Popline og Johanna Briggs Institute.

Two people independently selected studies that fulfilled the inclusion criteria.

The inclusion criteria for this report were:

Population: Infants with colic aged 0-1 year old

Interventions :

  • Pharmaceutical (e.g. simethicone)
  • Alternative (acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal tea e.g.)
  • Nutrition  (e.g. low lactose milk)
  • Treatment by chiropractor
  • Interventions to support the mother or the parents
  • Other (e.g. caring, stimulation by sound)

 

Outcomes related to the child: How long and how often does the child cry a day (reported by the parents), sleep-hours a day, bonding, social interaction between parents and child, weight, symptoms of infantile colic and adverse effect.

Outcome related to the family: Social interaction between parents and child, bonding, coping, stress, quality of life, adverse effects and health service satisfaction.

Languages: Only articles written in Scandinavian or English included.

We performed critical appraisal of the relevant articles that met our inclusion criteria for quality of method, and described the included reviews and studies in text and tables. Furthermore we summarized the results from the included reviews and controlled studies descriptively, as the participants, interventions and outcome measures were too heterogeneous to assimilate in a meta-analysis.

Results
We summarised results from four systematic reviews and found that the following interventions might somewhat reduce the duration of crying: Advise parents to reduce stimulation of the child and cows’ milk free formula to child. There was little or no difference between spinal manipulation performed by a chiropractor or being carried by a nurse 3 times over 8 days for reduction in crying.

Use of sucrose may have an ameliorating effect on infant colic. This result was significant. There is great uncertainty about the effects of the other evaluated options in the included overviews.

Conclusion
Our review shows three promising interventions that might reduce infant crying duration. The interventions are reducing stimulation of the child, use of sucrose and cows’ milk free formula to child. These results must be interpreted with great caution because of great methodological concerns regarding the individual studies included in the reviews.    

About this publication

  • Year: 2009
  • By: Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services
  • Authors Myrhaug HT, Helseth S, Håvelsrud K, Kirkehei I, Kjellemyr GT, Steen-Johnsen J, Aas-Jakobsen E.
  • ISSN (digital): 1890-1298
  • ISBN (digital): 978-82-8121-276-3