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


Howie, S; Bottomley, C; Chimah, O; Ideh, R; Ebruke, B; Okomo, U; Onyeama, C; Donkor, S; Rodrigues, O; Tapgun, M; Janneh, M; Oluwalana, C; Kuti, B; Enwere, G; Esangbedo, P; Doherty, C; Mackenzie, G; Greenwood, B; Corrah, T; Prentice, A; Adegbola, R; Zaman, S; (2018) Zinc as an adjunct therapy in the management of severe pneumonia among Gambian children: randomized controlled trial. Journal of global health, 8 (1). 010418. ISSN 2047-2978 DOI: https://doi.org/10.7189/jogh.08.010418

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Abstract

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; <i>P</i> = 0.011 and 18.7 vs 11.0 hours; <i>P</i> = 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; <i>P</i> = 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
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Nutrition and Public Health Interventions Research (2003-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
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PubMed ID: 29713463
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/4647595

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