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Probiotics have previously been shown to reduce the severity of atopic dermatitis (AD) in infants and children.To examine the effect of two probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacteria lactis) on established AD in children.Atopic children with current dermatitis received 2 × 1010 colony forming units/g of probiotic (n = 29) or placebo (n = 30). Both were given daily as a powder mixed with food or water. SCORing Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD; developed by the European Task Force on Atopic Dermatitis) a measure of the extent and severity of AD, was assessed at baseline, 2 and 12 weeks after starting treatment and 4 weeks after treatment was discontinued.SCORAD geometric mean score at baseline was 26.0 (21.9–30.8) in the probiotic group and 35.1 (28.9–42.8) in the placebo group (P = 0.02). After adjustment for these between-group baseline differences there was no significant improvement in AD at 12 weeks, SCORAD geometric mean ratio: 0.80 (95% confidence level (CI) 0.62–1.04, P = 0.10). Among the food sensitized children, there was an improvement in those treated with probiotics, SCORAD geometric mean ratio: 0.73 (95% CI 0.54–1.00, P = 0.047).In this study a combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacteria lactis improved AD only in food sensitized children.