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Dimenhydrinate of Little Help in Pediatric Gastroenteritis

Medication somewhat reduces vomiting frequency but does not improve weight gain or rehydration

MONDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Administering dimenhydrinate suppositories to children with infectious gastroenteritis can reduce vomiting but does not significantly improve rehydration and overall outcome, according to a study published online Sept. 14 in Pediatrics.

Ulrike Uhlig, M.D., of the University of Leipzig in Germany, and colleagues randomized 243 children with gastroenteritis and vomiting and mild or no dehydration to receive dimenhydrinate or placebo suppositories. The children in both groups also received rehydration therapy. The primary study outcome was weight gain within 18 to 24 hours, while among the secondary outcomes were hospital admission rate, the number of episodes of vomiting and diarrhea, the amount of fluid intake, and parental assessment of the child's well-being.

The researchers found no difference in weight gain between children receiving dimenhydrinate or placebo. Overall, 69.6 percent of the children in the dimenhydrinate group did not have any vomiting episodes compared to 47.4 percent in the placebo group. The mean number of vomiting episodes was 0.64 in the dimenhydrinate group and 1.36 in the placebo group. The other outcomes, including hospital admission rate, intake of fluid, parental assessment, and diarrhea episodes were similar in both groups.

"Dimenhydrinate reduces the frequency of vomiting in children with mild dehydration; however, the overall benefit is low, because it does not improve oral rehydration and clinical outcome," the authors conclude.

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