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Ondansetron Curbs Vomiting in Pediatric Gastroenteritis

Study finds that a single dose reduces vomiting and improves oral rehydration

WEDNESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- A single dose of oral ondansetron reduces vomiting and increases oral rehydration in children with gastroenteritis and dehydration, according to a study published April 20 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Stephen B. Freedman, M.D.C.M., of the University of Toronto in Canada, and colleagues randomly assigned 215 children with gastroenteritis and dehydration to receive either orally disintegrating ondansetron tablets or placebo before treatment with standard oral-rehydration therapy.

Fourteen percent of the ondansetron group vomited compared to 35 percent of the placebo group. They also found that the ondansetron group vomited less often (mean number of episodes per child, 0.18 versus. 0.65), had greater oral intake (239 mL versus 196 mL) and were less likely to be treated by intravenous rehydration (14 percent versus 31 percent).

"The ondansetron tablet is easy to administer, has few side effects, and is safe and effective," the authors conclude. "Therefore, it may be a useful therapy in the emergency department for children with vomiting and mild-to-moderate dehydration as a result of gastroenteritis."

The study was supported in part by GlaxoSmithKline.

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