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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Oct 18;(4):CD005506.

Antiemetics for reducing vomiting related to acute gastroenteritis in children and adolescents.

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Salmaniya Medical Complex, Paediatrics, Box 12, Manama, Bahrain.



Vomiting caused by acute gastroenteritis is very common in children and adolescents. Treatment of vomiting in children can be problematic and the use of antiemetics remains a controversial issue. There have been concerns expressed about apparently unacceptable levels of side effects such as sedation and extrapyramidal reactions, which are associated with some of the earlier generation of antiemetics.


To assess the effectiveness of antiemetics on gastroenteritis induced vomiting in children and adolescents.


We searched the Cochrane Central register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), which includes the Cochrane Upper Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Diseases Group Trials Register (searched 28 July 2005), MEDLINE (1966 to July 2005) and EMBASE (1980 to July 2005). Published abstracts from conference proceedings from the United European Gastroenterology Week and Digestive Disease Week were handsearched. Members of the Cochrane UGPD Group were contacted for details of any ongoing or relevant unpublished clinical trials. The search was re-run on 12th July 2006 and one new trial was found.


Randomised controlled trials comparing antiemetics and/or placebo in children and adolescents, under the age of 18, with vomiting due to gastroenteritis.


Two reviewers independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. Study authors were contacted for additional information. Adverse effects data was collected from the studies.


Three trials involving 396 participants were included. Although no data were available for the precise time to cessation of vomiting (the primary outcome specified in the protocol for this review), one trial reported that the proportion of patients without vomiting over a 24 hour period was higher in the ondansetron and metoclopramide groups than placebo. In the second trial, ondansetron ensured complete anti-emesis for 8/12 (67%) patients within the first 4 hours and in 7/12 (58%) patients in the first 24 hr period. A few secondary outcomes were reported in the included trials. The third trial reported that 14% of patients who received ondansetron vomited during oral rehydration (which was given over one hour period after randomization) compared to 35% of the placebo group.


The small number of included trials provided some, albeit weak and unreliable, evidence which appeared to favor the use of ondansetron and metoclopramide over placebo to reduce the number of episodes of vomiting due to gastroenteritis in children. The increased incidence of diarrhea noted with both ondansetron and metoclopramide was considered to be as a result of retention of fluids and toxins that would otherwise have been eliminated through the process of vomiting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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