Zinc treatment in children with cholera

This study by researchers in Bangladesh shows that “children with cholera should be supplemented with zinc to reduce its duration and severity.”

First, the details.

  • 179 children with watery diarrhea containing Vibrio cholerae were randomly assigned to 30 mg of elemental zinc per day or placebo until recovery.
  • All children received the antibiotic erythromycin for 3 days.

And, the results.

  • Significantly more children in the zinc group recovered by 2 days.
  • There was a 12% shorter duration of diarrhea and 11% less stool output in the zinc group compared to placebo – both significant.

The bottom line?
It would be interesting to know how many of these children were zinc-deficient at the start of the study.

Researchers who reviewed the evidence in 2003 concluded. “The children of developing countries might benefit from zinc supplementation during the diarrheal illness, but its mode of delivery and cost effectiveness are yet to be decided.”

More information about cholera is available in the same issue of The British Medical Journal

2/1/08 13:02 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.