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Zinc as an adjunct therapy in the management of severe pneumonia among Gambian children: randomized controlled trial.

Howie, Stephen, Bottomley, Christian, Chimah, Osaretin, Ideh, Readon, Ebruke, Bernard, Okomo, Uduak, Onyeama, Charles, Donkor, Simon, Rodrigues, Onike, Tapgun, Mary, Janneh, Marie, Oluwalana, Claire, Kuti, Bankole, Enwere, Godwin, Esangbedo, Pamela, Doherty, Conor, Mackenzie, Grant, Greenwood, Brian, Corrah, Tumani, Prentice, Andrew, Adegbola, Richard and Zaman, Syed (2018) 'Zinc as an adjunct therapy in the management of severe pneumonia among Gambian children: randomized controlled trial.'. Journal of Global Health, Vol 8, Issue 1, e010418.

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The benefit of zinc as an adjunct therapy for severe pneumonia is not established. We assessed the benefit of adjunct zinc therapy for severe pneumonia in children and determined whether the study children were zinc deficient. This was a randomized, parallel group, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with an allocation ratio of 1:1 conducted in children with severe pneumonia to evaluate the efficacy of daily zinc as an adjunct treatment in preventing 'treatment failure' (presence of any sign of severe pneumonia) on day-5 and day-10 and in reducing the time to resolution of signs of severe pneumonia. Six hundred and four children 2-59 months of age presenting with severe pneumonia at six urban and rural health care facilities in The Gambia were individually randomised to receive placebo (n = 301) or zinc (n = 303) for seven days. To determine if the study children were zinc deficient, supplementation was continued in a randomly selected subgroup of 121 children from each arm for six months post-enrolment, and height-gain, nutritional status, plasma zinc concentrations, and immune competence were compared. Percentage of treatment failure were similar in placebo and zinc arms both on day 5 (14.0% vs 14.1%) and day 10 (5.2% vs 5.9%). The time to recovery from lower chest wall indrawing and sternal retraction was longer in the placebo compared to zinc arm (24.4 vs 23.0 hours;  = 0.011 and 18.7 vs 11.0 hours;  = 0.006 respectively). The time to resolution for all respiratory symptoms of severity was not significantly different between placebo and zinc arms (42.3 vs 30.9 hours respectively;  = 0.242). In the six months follow-up sub-group, there was no significant difference in height gain, height-for-age and weight-for-height Z-scores, mid upper arm circumference, plasma zinc concentrations, and anergy at six months post-enrolment. In this population, zinc given as an adjunct treatment for severe pneumonia showed no benefit in treatment failure rates, or clinically important benefit in time to recovery from respiratory symptoms and showed marginal benefit in rapidity of resolution of some signs of severity. This finding does not support routine use of zinc as an adjunct treatment in severe pneumonia in generally zinc replete children. ISRCTN33548493.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 30 Socioeconomic factors in public health (General)
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 320 Child Welfare. Child Health Services.
WC Communicable Diseases > Infection. Bacterial Infections > Bacterial Infections > WC 202 Pneumonia (General or not elsewhere classified)
WS Pediatrics > Child Care. Nutrition. Physical Examination > WS 115 Nutritional requirements. Nutrition disorders
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 16 May 2018 15:46
Last Modified: 17 May 2018 09:10


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