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Indian J Pediatr. 2011 Sep;78(9):1079-84. doi: 10.1007/s12098-011-0458-1. Epub 2011 Jun 10.

The efficacy of zinc supplementation on outcome of children with severe pneumonia. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.

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Department of Pediatrics, Jundishapour University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran.



To compare the clinical outcome of children having severe pneumonia, with and without zinc supplementation by a randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial.


In this study, 128 children (3-60 months old) admitted to the hospital with severe pneumonia were randomly divided into 2 groups (64 in each) that received either zinc sulfate (2 mg/kg/d, maximum 20 mg in 2 divided doses, for 5 days) or a placebo, along with the standard antimicrobial therapy. Primary outcome measurements included the time taken for clinical symptoms of severe pneumonia such as fever and respiratory distress symptoms to resolve, and the secondary outcome included the duration of hospital stay.


The time taken for all the symptoms to resolve in the zinc-supplemented group was significantly lesser then that in the placebo group (42.26 [6.66] vs. 47.52 [7.15] h respectively, p < 0.001). The zinc-treated group had a significantly shorter duration of fever (23.29 [6.67] vs. 26.6 [6.26] h, p = 0.024), respiratory distress (32.87 [7.85] vs. 37.37 [4.43] h, p = 0.001), required a shorter hospital stay (126.74 [12.8] vs. 137.74 [11.52] h, p < 0.001) than did the controls. The zinc supplement was well tolerated by the children.


The results suggest that adjuvant treatment with zinc accelerates recovery from severe pneumonia in young children and significantly reduces the duration of hospital stay. Further studies are required to develop appropriate recommendations for the use of zinc in the treatment of severe pneumonia in other populations.

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