In developing countries acute infectious diarrhoea remains one of the leading causes of death among young children, especially those under 1 year of age. In contrast, in industrialized nations the death rate is very low, although the disease is an important cause of morbidity and consumes substantial healthcare costs. A variety of viral, bacterial and parasitic organisms have been implicated in the pathogenesis of acute diarrhoea. The primary objectives of treatment of acute infectious diarrhoea are correction of dehydration with oral replacement therapy (ORT) and maintenance of good nutritional status via food intake. With regards drug therapy antimicrobial agents are not usually recommended since the disease is generally self-limiting. Racecadotril is powerful and selective enkephalinase inhibitor and has emerged as a promising drug in the antisecretory therapy of acute infectious diarrhoea in children.
Conclusion: There is encouraging evidence that treatment with racecadotril can provide clinically relevant symptomatic relief by reducing the severity and duration of diarrhoeal episodes. The drug is well tolerated and has a favourable safety profile. However, further comparative studies and cost-effectiveness analyses are needed to define the position of the drug in the management of diarrhoeal illness in children.