Acute gastroenteritis is one of the most common infectious diseases of childhood. Its symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. In the emergency ward, intravenous rather than oral rehydration is usually preferred because of the high likelihood of emesis. Treatments to reduce emesis are of value in improving the rehydration procedure. Our study is a double-blind randomized trial and proposes the use of ondansetron as an anti-emetic drug to treat children with acute gastroenteritis. Seventy-four in-patients, aged 3 months to 15 years, were enrolled and randomly assigned to an ondansetron or placebo group. Inclusion criteria were the diagnosis of acute gastroenteritis and the absence of other diseases or allergies to drugs. A single bolus (0.15 mg/kg) of ondansetron was injected intravenously; normal 0.9% saline solution was used as a placebo. This treatment induced vomiting cessation in the ondansetron group significantly in comparison to the placebo group. The length of the hospital stay and the oral rehydration fluid volume were similar in the two groups and no adverse effects were noticed. Thus, safety, low cost, and overall benefit of ondansetron treatment suggests that this drug can be administered successfully to children with acute gastroenteritis.
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