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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet]. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2003-.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet].

Use of antimotility drugs (Loperamide, Diphenoxylate, Codeine) to control prolonged diarrhoea in people with HIV/AIDS.

This version published: 2008; Review content assessed as up-to-date: September 13, 2007.

Link to full article: [Cochrane Library]

Plain language summary

People with HIV/AIDS often develop prolonged diarrhoea which are sometimes not caused by infections. This is more so in the sub‐Saharan Africa where drugs for controlling HIV itself i.e. antiretroviral drugs (ARV) may not be widely available or affordable. prolonged diarrhoea often results in prolonged illness and death due to loss of fluids, if not treated effectively and on time. Antimotility drugs and adsorbents are readily available and are used to try to control this condition while efforts are made to receive ARVs. We did not find enough evidence to support or refute their use in controlling this condition.

Abstract

Background: AIDS‐related diarrhoea is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV positive individuals, especially in the sub‐Saharan Africa where 70% of deaths from HIV occur. It often compromises quality of life both in those receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and the ART naive. Empirical antidiarrhoeal treatment may be required in about 50% of cases which are non‐pathogenic or idiopathic and in cases resulting from antiretroviral therapy. Antimotility agents (Loperamide, Diphenoxylate, Codeine) and adsorbents (Bismuth Subsalicylate, Kaolin/Pectin, Attapulgite) are readily available, and have been found to be useful in this condition and so, are often used. Antimotilitics are opioids, decreasing stool output by reducing bowel activity thereby increasing fecal transit time in the gut, promoting fluid and electrolyte retention while adsorbents act by binding to fluids, toxins and other substances to improve stool consistency and eliminate the toxins. Due to its potential impact on the management of chronic diarrhoea in persons with HIV/AIDS, we reviewed the effectiveness of antimotility agents in controlling chronic diarrhoea in immunocompromised states caused by HIV/AIDS.

Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of antimotility agents in controlling chronic diarrhoea in people with HIV/AIDS.

Search methods: We searched Medline, EMBASE, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, the Cochrane HIV/AIDS Register and AIDSearch databases in November 2006. We also contacted WHO, CDC, pharmaceutical companies and experts in the field for information on previous or on‐going trials and checked reference list from retrieved studies, irrespective of language and publication status.

Selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials comparing an antimotility agent or an adsorbent with another antimotility agent, placebo, an adsorbent or no treatment in children and adults diagnosed with HIV and presenting with diarrhoea of three or more weeks duration.

Data collection and analysis: Two authors independently undertook study selection and examined full articles of potentially eligible studies.

Main results: One trial was found assessing the use of an adsorbent (attapulgite) compared to a placebo for chronic diarrhoea in people with HIV/AIDS. It included 91 adults (Aged 18 to 60), diagnosed with AIDS and experiencing diarrhoea for at least 7 days. There was no evidence that attapulgite is superior to placebo in controlling diarrhoea by reducing stool frequency and normalising stool consistency on days 1 (0.34 (95% CI 0.01 ‐ 8.15)), 3 (1.35 (95% CI 0.51 ‐ 3.62)) and 5 (1.74 (95% CI 0.89 ‐ 3.38)). This was a small trial and may not have had enough power to show evidence of effects. Five deaths were reported which was not classified according to the arms of the study.

Studies assessing the use of antimotility agents were not found.

Authors' conclusions: This review highlights the absence of evidence for the use of antimotility agents and adsorbents in controlling diarrhoea in people with HIV/AIDS. While no trials assessing the use of Antimotilitics were found, the retrieved study showed that attapulgite was not better than placebo in controlling diarrhoea in HIV/AIDS patients . For optimum patient care, these agents can still be used, with greater emphasis placed on adjunct therapies like massive fluid replacement while evidence for practice is awaited from further studies and reviews.

Editorial Group: Cochrane HIV/AIDS Group.

Publication status: New.

Citation: Nwachukwu CE, Okebe JU. Antimotility agents for chronic diarrhoea in people with HIV/AIDS. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD005644. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005644.pub2. Link to Cochrane Library. [PubMed: 18843696]

Copyright © 2008 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

PMID: 18843696

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