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Arch Dis Child. 1997 Sep;77(3):196-200.

Randomised controlled trial of zinc supplementation in malnourished Bangladeshi children with acute diarrhoea.

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  • 1Clinical Sciences Division, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the impact of zinc supplementation on the clinical course, stool weight, duration of diarrhoea, changes in serum zinc, and body weight gain of children with acute diarrhoea.

DESIGN:

Randomised double blind controlled trial. Children were assigned to receive zinc (20 mg elemental zinc per day) containing multivitamins or control group (zinc-free multivitamins) daily in three divided doses for two weeks.

SETTING:

A diarrhoeal disease hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

PATIENTS:

111 children, 3 to 24 months old, below 76% median weight for age of the National Center for Health Statistics standard with acute diarrhoea. Children with severe infection and/or oedema were excluded.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Total diarrhoeal stool output, duration of diarrhoea, rate of weight gain, and changes in serum zinc levels after supplementation.

RESULTS:

Stool output was 28% less and duration 14% shorter in the zinc supplemented group than placebo (p = 0.06). There were reductions in median total diarrhoeal stool output among zinc supplemented subjects who were shorter (less than 95% height for age), 239 v 326 g/kg (p < 0.04), and who had a lower initial serum zinc (< 14 mmol/l), 279 v 329 g/kg (p < 0.05); a shortening of mean time to recovery occurred (4.7 v 6.2 days, p < 0.04) in those with lower serum zinc. There was an increase in mean serum zinc in the zinc supplemented group (+2.4 v -0.3 mumol/l, p < 0.001) during two weeks of supplementation, and better mean weight gain (120 v 30 g, p < 0.03) at the time of discharge from hospital.

CONCLUSIONS:

Zinc supplementation is a simple, acceptable, and affordable strategy which should be considered in the management of acute diarrhoea and in prevention of growth faltering in children specially those who are malnourished.

PMID:
9370894
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1717301
Free PMC Article
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