Role of Antiemetic Drugs for the Treatment of Acute Gastroenteritis in Children

Rachel C. Vreeman


Pediatr Health. 2009;3(4):337-341. 

In This Article

Conclusions for Clinical Practice

The collected evidence in two current systematic reviews suggest that ondansetron may induce vomiting in AGE.[22,23] DeCamp et al. found that ondansetron effectively reduced further emesis, the need for intravenous fluids and hospitalizations in patients aged 1 month to 22 years who presented to the emergency department with AGE. Based on the results of a subset of these studies, Alhashimi et al. concluded that ondansetron may reduce the amount of vomiting in children with AGE, as well as reducing how often children require intravenous fluids or hospital admission for this illness.[23] While appropriate rehydration therapy should remain the first-line for AGE care, these analyses suggest that clinicians caring for children with AGE and vomiting should use ondansetron for this population.

However, readers are cautioned that we still have relatively few studies to guide the use of ondansetron for children with AGE. Moreover, all of these studies have been conducted in emergency departments, and thus we do not know if ondansetron works as well for children who are less sick or are in outpatient settings. In additon, all the studies had at least partial funding from the pharmaceutical industry. The side effect of diarrhea must also be investigated more carefully and must be weighed against the potential benefits to the cessation of vomiting and decreases in intravenous fluid use and hospital admission.


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