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J Pediatr. 1996 Jan;128(1):45-51.

A double-blind clinical trial comparing World Health Organization oral rehydration solution with a reduced osmolarity solution containing equal amounts of sodium and glucose.

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  • 1Department of International Health, Center for American Indian and Alaskan Native Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



To compare the safety and efficacy of an oral rehydration solution (ORS) containing 75 mmol/L of sodium and glucose each with the standard World Health Organization (WHO) ORS among Egyptian children with acute diarrhea.


One hundred ninety boys, aged 1 to 24 months, who were admitted to the hospital with acute diarrhea and signs of dehydration were randomly assigned to receive either standard ORS (311 mmol/L) or a reduced osmolarity ORS (245 mmol/L). Intake and output were measured every 3 hours.


In the group treated with reduced osmolarity ORS, the mean stool output during the rehydration phase was 36% lower (95% confidence interval, 1%, 100%) than in those treated with WHO ORS. The relative risk of vomiting during the rehydration phase was significantly lower in children treated with reduced osmolarity ORS (relative risk, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.2, 4.8). During the maintenance phase, stool output, mean intake of food and ORS, duration of diarrhea, and weight gain were similar in the treatment groups. The relative risk of treatment failure (need for unscheduled administration of intravenous fluids) was significantly increased in children receiving standard WHO ORS (relative risk, 7.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.1, 60.9). The mean serum sodium concentration at 24 hours was significantly lower in children receiving the reduced osmolarity ORS solution (134 +/- 6 mEq/L) than in children receiving the standard WHO ORS (138 +/- 7 mEq/L) (p < 0.001). The relative risk of the development or worsening of hyponatremia was not increased in children given the reduced osmolarity ORS, and urine output was similar in the treatment groups.


The reduced osmolarity ORS has beneficial effects on the clinical course of acute diarrhea in children by reducing stool output, and the proportion of children with vomiting during the rehydration phase, and by reducing the need for supplemental intravenous therapy. These results provide support for the use of a reduced osmolarity ORS in children with acute noncholera diarrhea.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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