Smectite for acute infectious diarrhoea in children

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Giving smectite to children with acute diarrhoea may reduce its duration

Acute diarrhoea is one of the most common diseases in children. It is usually caused by a viral infection. The main aim of treatment is to maintain a good level of hydration. This is achieved with oral rehydration solutions, and few children need to be hospitalized or require intravenous rehydration. Still, even with proper hydration, having loose stools is a burden for both parents and patients. Smectite may help by reducing inflammation in the gut; by acting as a barrier to reduce the penetration of toxins; or by increasing water absorption.

The aim of this Cochrane Review was to find out if smectite (or diosmectite), a medicinal clay commonly prescribed to people who have diarrhoea in order to reduce their stool output, helps children with acute diarrhoea. All relevant studies were collected and analysed to answer this question; 18 relevant studies were found. More high-quality studies are still needed, including studies that assess different causes of diarrhoea and the economic effects of this treatment.

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