Drug Helps Kids with Gastroenteritis
Given intravenously, the drug ondansetron decreases vomiting in children with gastroenteritis, according to the research.
Gastroenteritis affects about 30 million children in the United States every year. It’s an acute infection in the stomach lining and intestines. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. It can be life-threatening if the child becomes dehydrated. Researchers at University Medical Center in Las Vegas evaluated whether ondansetron would be effective for the treatment of vomiting associated with acute gastroenteritis in children.
More than 100 patients between the ages of 1 month and 22 years were enrolled in the study. Half of them received ondansetron and the other half received a placebo. Researchers recorded the frequency of vomiting, hospital admission rate and other complications.
Researchers found vomiting completely stopped in 70 percent of patients on the drug. However, in 51 percent of the patients on the placebo, the vomiting also stopped. Thirty percent of the patients in the placebo group had to be admitted to the hospital compared to 26 percent of the patients on ondansetron. Researchers say there were no significant complications from the drug.
Researchers conclude ondansetron is a safe, low-cost therapy that can help relieve the symptoms in children with gastroenteritis.
SOURCE: Pediatrics, 2002;