Glucose-based oral rehydration solutions (ORS) available in the United States do not appear to reduce the severity or duration of diarrhea. The use of cereal-derived ORS and cereal-based feedings appears to diminish the severity of illness in studies conducted in the developing world. To our knowledge, no controlled trials of cereal-derived ORS or cereal-based feedings have been performed in the United States.
We performed a randomized, double-blind trial of two ORS feeding regimens in outpatients with diarrhea. Patients aged 2-13 months with acute watery diarrhea were enrolled. Subjects received standard glucose-based ORS in alternation with soy-based, lactose-free infant formula (Group 1) or rice syrup solid containing ORS in alternation with rice-based, lactose-free infant formula (Group 2). Subjects were visited at home daily to determine the severity of illness and characteristics of the stool.
After the first 2 days, significantly more Group 1 subjects continued to have diarrhea than did Group 2 subjects (median duration of diarrhea 3 vs. 2 days) as demonstrated by Kaplan-Meier survival curves (p = 0.04).
We conclude that infants fed a regimen consisting of rice syrup solid containing ORS and rice formula resolved their diarrhea sooner than did infants fed a regimen of standard glucose-based ORS and formula. The relative contributions of ORS and formula to this more rapid recovery can be elucidated by further studies.
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