Gum Arabic a superb anti-diarrheal agent
Back ground: Diarrhoea is the second most common cause of death in young children, after pneumonia.Gum Arabic (GA) is a soluble fibre with moderate emulsifying properties that may result in greater accessibility of electrolytes and associated water to the microvillus membrane. Additional work indicated that GA enhanced absorption of the solutes transported by diffusion and does not act via sodium dependent mechanisms.
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of Sweetfibre (gum Arabic preparation) as an additive to WHO-ORS in the management of acute diarrhoea in children.
Methods: An interventional randomized controlled hospital based clinical trial was performed in OPEH (March to August 2011). One hundred and eighty children presenting with acute none bloody diarrhoea in the absence of severe systemic illnesses were enrolled in the study. These children were divided randomly into two equal groups (study group1 and control group2), their ages ranged between sixand 60 months. The control group received the conventional treatment of diarrhoea according to WHO recommendations and the other group received in addition gum Arabic solution (sweetfibre), 5-10 mg until recovery and continued with 5 mg thereafter. Data were analysed using the SPSS.
Results: In the group of children who received gum Arabic; diarrhoea stopped within 24 hours in 90% and 80% were discharged after one day. All of them were improved and discharged within first five days of admission. None of them went into severe dehydration or shock. Only three children developed electrolyte imbalance. The weight at the end of the study increased in 47.8% and decreased in only 5.5%. Sixty one children were followed after 6 weeks only two of them (3.3%) had recurrence of diarrhoea. In the control group diarrhoea stopped within 24 hours in 38.9% and 30% were discharged after one day.10% did not recover during the first five days of admission. Electrolytes imbalance developed in 23.3%, two children developed severe dehydration and one became shocked. The weight decreased in 35.6% and increased in 15.6%. Sixty seven children were followed, 13 (19.4%) of them developed diarrhoea again.
Conclusion: Sweetfibre as an additive to WHO-ORS reduces the duration of diarrhoea and hospital stay. It decreases diarrhoea complications and facilitates regaining weight. It has a prebiotic effect in prevention of diarrhoea. All these indicate its potential as a new antidiarrheal therapy for acute diarrhoea in children.
Keywords: prebiotic, antidiarrheal, contamination, isonatraemic, isotonic dehydration.
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