Zinc Therapy for Diarrhoea Increased the Use of Oral Rehydration Therapy and Reduced the Use of Antibiotics in Bangladeshi Children

Abdullah H. Baqui, Robert E. Black, Shams El Arifeen, Mohammad Yunus, K. Zaman, Nazma Begum, Amira A. Roess, Mathuram Santosham


Excessive use of antibiotics for diarrhoea is a major contributing factor towards increasing rates of antimicrobial resistance in developing countries. Zinc therapy for diarrhoea has been shown to be bene-ficial in controlled efficacy trials, and it is of interest to determine if availability of zinc syrup for treatment of diarrhoea would satisfy the demand for a ’medicine’ for diarrhoea, thus reducing the use of antibiotics, without competing with the use of oral rehydration therapy (ORT). This community-based controlled trial was conducted from November 1998 to October 2000, and all children aged 3-59 months in the study area were included. In this trial, the availability of zinc supplements, along with ORT and appropriate education programmes, was associated with significantly higher use of ORT and lower use of antibiotics.

Key words:  Zinc; Zinc therapy; Diarrhoea; Diarrhoea, Infantile; Oral rehydration therapy; Antibiotics; Bangladesh

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