Antiemetic use in pediatric gastroenteritis: a national survey of emergency physicians, pediatricians, and pediatric emergency physicians

Clin Pediatr (Phila). Nov-Dec 2002;41(9):641-52. doi: 10.1177/000992280204100902.


The objective of this study was to review the use of antiemetics for pediatric gastroenteritis and to determine prescribing patterns of physicians. A mailed cross-sectional survey instrument was sent to randomly selected board-certified emergency medicine, pediatric, and pediatric emergency medicine specialists. A total of 1665 surveys were mailed, with 593 completed surveys returned (35.6% response rate). A majority of responders (60.9%) reported using antiemetics for pediatric gastroenteritis at least once in the past year, with a greater than 50% usage for all three specialty groups. Promethazine was the most commonly used antiemetic in all specialties, and per rectum the most common route of administration. Adverse reactions following a single dose of antiemetic were most frequently reported with prochlorperazine. The most common reason for antiemetic use was to prevent further dehydration. The most common concern regarding antiemetic use was potential for side effects. Occasional antiemetic use appears to be a common practice in treating pediatric gastroenteritis, regardless of specialty. Given the absence of literature on efficacy or safety, these drugs should be used only with careful consideration to potential side effects.

MeSH terms

  • Antiemetics / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Utilization Review
  • Emergency Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Gastroenteritis / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pediatrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data*


  • Antiemetics