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A randomized controlled trial of oral zinc in acute pneumonia in children aged between 2 months to 5 years.

Author(s): Ganguly A, Chakraborty S, Datta K, Hazra A, Datta S, Chakraborty J

Affiliation(s): Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research, Kolkata, India.

Publication date & source: 2011-09, Indian J Pediatr., 78(9):1085-90. Epub 2011 Jun 10.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of zinc supplementation as adjuvant in treatment of pneumonia. METHODS: Ninety-eight children with acute bacterial pneumonia, aged between 2 months to 5 years, were studied in a randomized controlled single blind design. They received either zinc supplementation, as zinc acetate syrup, or placebo, as vitamin B-complex syrup, for 14 days, concomitantly with antimicrobial treatment (49 per group). Chest radiograph and blood tests were done for confirmation of diagnosis and severity of pneumonia was assessed by breathing rate, chest in-drawing and body temperature. Potentially immunosuppressed children or those with serious comorbidity were excluded. Follow-up was done daily while subjects were admitted (generally 7 days) and the final assessment made on the 14th day on out-patient basis. RESULTS: Children enrolled in zinc and placebo groups were of comparable age [17 +/- 10 and 10 +/- 30 months (median +/- interquartile range) respectively] and sex distribution [34 (69.4%) vs 31 (63.3%) males respectively]. Duration of illness at diagnosis was also comparable. Patients supplemented with zinc showed no difference in clinical cure rate at 14 days when compared with placebo. Fast breathing was present after 1 wk of treatment in 49% subjects in zinc supplemented vs 43% on placebo (p = 0.685). There was also no difference in breathing rate at study end. Regarding fever, the mean temperature was <99 degrees F in both groups at study end. Hemoglobin, total leukocyte count, standard liver function tests and creatinine showed no difference between groups either at baseline or at study end. There were no treatment emergent adverse events attributable to zinc. CONCLUSIONS: Though well tolerated; the addition of zinc does not improve symptom duration or cure rate in acute bacterial pneumonia in under-five children.

Page last updated: 2011-12-09

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