Several oral rehydration solutions equally effective for sick children

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 21, 2005

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Children who are dehydrated because of vomiting and diarrhea caused by viral gastroenteritis can be successfully treated with either Gatorade, Pedialyte or a novel solution that includes carbohydrate, sodium and potassium, according to a study presented last month at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Honolulu.

Researchers from the University of Iowa in Iowa City randomized 73 children between ages 5 and 12 at a hospital in India to receive one of the three rehydration solutions and a diet of yogurt and rice. Bowel movements and body weight improved in all subjects. Patients preferred the taste of Gatorade, although this solution was associated with an increased risk of potassium deficiency.

All three groups had a similar rate of hyponatremia, which the authors suggest could mean that some patients need more aggressive measures.

"A small number of patients with dehydration may have significant electrolyte disturbances," said Satish S.C. Rao, MD, PhD, professor in internal medicine at the University of Iowa. "Additional treatment may be necessary."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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