Antiemetics for Reducing Vomiting Related to Acute Gastroenteritis in Children and Adolescents

This week, as part of the Child Health Emergency Medicine Social Media Campaign, we are highlighting a Cochrane summary on antiemetics for reducing vomiting related to acute gastroenteritis in children and adolescents. This review was selected for the TREKK Evidence Repository on gastroenteritis.

Key Messages:

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Related TREKK Resources:

Cochrane Summary:

Anti-sickness medication for vomiting in acute stomach upsets in children

Vomiting caused by acute gastroenteritis is very common in children and adolescents. Treatment of vomiting in children with acute gastroenteritis can be problematic and there is lack of agreement among clinicians on the indications for the use of antiemetics. There have also been concerns expressed about apparently unacceptable levels of side effects with some of the older generation of antiemetics. The small number of included trials provided evidence which appeared to favour the use of antiemetics over placebo to reduce the number of episodes of vomiting due to gastroenteritis in children. A single oral dose of ondansetron given to children with mild to moderate dehydration can control vomiting, avoid hospitalization and intravenous fluid administration which would otherwise be needed. There were no major side effects other than a few reports of increased frequency of diarrhea.

Authors’ Conclusions:

Oral ondansetron increased the proportion of patients who had ceased vomiting and reduced the number needing intravenous rehydration and immediate hospital admission. Intravenous ondansetron and metoclopramide reduced the number of episodes of vomiting and hospital admission, and dimenhydrinate as a suppository reduced the duration of vomiting.

Check Out the Full Cochrane Systematic Review Below:

Fedorowicz, Z., Jagannath, V.A., Carter, B. (2011). Antiemetics for reducing vomiting related to acute gastroenteritis in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 9, CD005506. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005506.pub5

Did You Like the TREKK Gastroenteritis Video: My Child is Vomiting and Has Diarrhea?

This video is part of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research IHDCYH Talks video competition. If you liked the video, please log in to YouTube and give the video a thumbs up to support our work!

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This post is part of a weekly blog series highlighting pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) focused Cochrane summaries and other key resources selected by TREKK.

Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons.