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This article is part of the supplement: The Lives Saved Tool in 2013: new capabilities and applications

Open Access Review

The effect of antiemetics in childhood gastroenteritis

Jai K Das1, Rohail Kumar1, Rehana A Salam1, Stephen Freedman2 and Zulfiqar A Bhutta13*

Author affiliations

1 Division of Women & Child Health, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan

2 Division of Paediatric Emergency Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada

3 Global Child Health and Policy, Centre for Global Child Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13(Suppl 3):S9  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-S3-S9

Published: 17 September 2013

Abstract

Introduction

Diarrheal diseases are the second leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality in developing countries and an important cause of malnutrition. An estimated 0.75 million children below 5 years of age die from diarrhea. Vomiting associated with acute gastroenteritis (AGE) is a distressing symptom and limits the success of oral rehydration in AGE leading to an increased use of intravenous rehydration, prolonged emergency department stay and hospitalization. In this review we estimate the effect of antiemetics in gastroenteritis in children.

Methods

We conducted a systematic review of all the efficacy and effectiveness studies. We used a standardized abstraction and grading format and performed meta-analyses for all outcomes with more than two studies. The estimated effect of antiemetics was determined by applying the standard Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) rules.

Results

We included seven studies in the review. Antiemetics significantly reduced the incidence of vomiting and hospitalization by 54%. Antiemetics also significantly reduced the intravenous fluid requirements by 60%, while it had a non-significant effect on the ORT tolerance and revisit rates.

Conclusion

Antiemetics are effective for the management of gastroenteritis in children and have the potential to decrease morbidity and mortality burden due to diarrhea, when introduced and scaled up.