What is the role of medications in the treatment of gastroenteritis?

Updated: Feb 10, 2017
  • Author: Arthur Diskin, MD; Chief Editor: Steven C Dronen, MD, FAAEM  more...
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The goals of pharmacotherapy are to reduce morbidity, to prevent complications, and to possibly decrease the duration of illness.

In February 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an oral vaccine for rotavirus (RotaTeq). RotaTeq is administered in a 3-dose series starting between age 6-12 weeks and completed before age 32 weeks. It protects against types G1, G2, G3 and G4.

In April 2008, the FDA approved Rotarix, another oral vaccine, for prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis. The current recommendation is to administer 2 separate doses of Rotarix to patients aged 6-24 weeks. Rotarix was efficacious in a large study, which reported that Rotarix protected patients with severe rotavirus gastroenteritis and decreased the rate of severe diarrhea or gastroenteritis of any cause. [23] In March 2010, Rotarix was temporarily taken off the market due to concerns with contamination with porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV1), but in May 2010 the FDA cleared use of the product again. Rotarix should not be given to children with latex allergy. It protects against type G1, G3, G4, and G 9. Rotashield, an earlier vaccine, was withdrawn from the market due to concerns with intussusception.

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