BACKGROUND: Vomiting is a common manifestation of acute gastroenteritis in children and adolescents. When untreated, it can be a hindrance to oral rehydration therapy, which is the cornerstone in the management of acute gastroenteritis. Evidence is needed concerning the safety and efficacy of antiemetic use for vomiting in acute gastroenteritis in children. OBJECTIVES: To assess the safety and effectiveness of antiemetics on gastroenteritis induced vomiting in children and adolescents. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Upper Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Diseases Group Trials Register comprising references identified from comprehensive electronic database searches and hand searches of relevant journals and abstract books of conferences. The search was re-run and is up to date as on 20 July 2010. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomized controlled trials comparing antiemetics with placebo or no treatment, in children and adolescents under the age of 18, for vomiting due to gastroenteritis. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. MAIN RESULTS: We included seven trials involving 1,020 participants. Mean time to cessation of vomiting in one study was 0.34 days less with dimenhydrinate suppository compared to placebo (P value = 0.036). Pooled data from three studies comparing oral ondansetron with placebo showed: a reduction in the immediate hospital admission rate (RR 0.40, NNT 17, 95% CI 10 to 100) but no difference between the hospitalization rates at 72 hours after discharge from the Emergency Department (ED); a reduction in IV rehydration rates both during the ED stay (RR 0.41, NNT 5, 95% CI 4 to 8), and in follow-up to 72 hours after discharge from the ED stay (worst-best scenario for ondansetron RR 0.57, NNT 6, 95% CI 4 to 13) and an increase in the proportion of patients with cessation of vomiting (RR 1.34, NNT 5, 95% CI 3 to 7). No significant difference was noted in the revisit rates or adverse events, although diarrhea was reported as a side effect in four of the five ondansetron studies. In one study the proportion of patients with cessation of vomiting in 24 hours was (58%) with IV ondansetron, (17%) placebo and (33%) in the metoclopramide group (P value = 0.039). AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Oral ondansetron increased the proportion of patients who had ceased vomiting and reduced the number needing intravenous rehydration and immediate hospital admission. Intravenous ondansetron and metoclopramide reduced the number of episodes of vomiting and hospital admission, and dimenhydrinate as a suppository reduced the duration of vomiting.
BACKGROUND: Systematic reviews are not an assembly of anecdotes but a distillation of current best available evidence on a particular topic and as such have an important role to play in evidence-based healthcare. A substantial proportion of these systematic reviews focus on interventions, and are able to provide clinicians with the opportunity to understand and translate the best available evidence on the effects of these healthcare interventions into clinical practice. The importance of systematic reviews in summarising and identifying the gaps in evidence which might inform new research initiatives is also widely acknowledged. Their potential impact on practice and research makes their methodological quality especially important as it may directly infuence their utility for clinicians, patients and policy makers. The objectives of this study were to identify systematic reviews of oral healthcare interventions published in the Journal of Applied Oral Science (JAOS) and to evaluate their methodological quality using the evaluation tool, AMSTAR. METHODS: Potentially eligible systematic reviews in JAOS were identifed through an electronic search of the Scientific Electronic Library Online (SciELO). Details of the relevant aspects of methodology as reported in these systematic reviews were extracted from the full text publications. Methodological quality was assessed independently by two reviewers using the AMSTAR questionnaire. RESULTS: Five systematic reviews were identifed, one of which was subsequently excluded as it was a review of a diagnostic test. Summary AMSTAR scores for the four included reviews were: 1, 5, 2 and 4 out of a maximum score of 11 (range 1-5, mean 3) with only one of the reviews scoring 5. CONCLUSION: AMSTAR evaluation of the methodological quality of the relatively small number of systematic reviews published in JAOS illustrated that there was room for improvement. Pre-publication and editorial appraisal of future systematic reviews might beneft from the application of tools such as AMSTAR and is to be recommended.