Objective: To compare the palatability of 3 oral rehydration solutions.
Design: Prospective, blinded, randomized, 3-period, 3-treatment crossover trial.
Setting: Emergency department of a tertiary care pediatric hospital.
Participants: Sixty-six children aged 5 to 10 years with concerns unrelated to the gastrointestinal tract. Intervention Each participant consumed as much of each solution as they desired during a 15-minute period.
Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was each child's rating of taste as measured on a 100-mm visual analog scale (worst taste, 0 mm; best taste, 100 mm). Secondary outcome measures were volume consumed, willingness to consume each liquid again, and the most favored liquid.
Results: All enrolled patients completed all 3 study periods. A significant carryover effect was detected for taste scores (P=.03), which were significantly different with and without adjustment for the carryover effect (P<.001). Unadjusted values were 65 mm for Pedialyte, 58 mm for Pediatric Electrolyte, and 23 mm for Enfalyte. Differences in mean volume consumed were not significant (Enfalyte, 15 mL; Pediatric Electrolyte, 17 mL; and Pedialyte, 22 mL [P=.44]). The proportion of children who would drink each solution in the future varied significantly between Enfalyte and Pediatric Electrolyte (odds ratio, 0.22; 95% confidence interval, 0.11-0.46) and between Enfalyte and Pedialyte (0.38; 0.25-0.57). There were differences in the identification of the best-tasting solution, with Pedialyte selected by 35 of 66 children (53%), Pediatric Electrolyte by 26 of 66 children (39%), and Enfalyte by 5 of 66 children (8%) (P<.001).
Conclusion: Sucralose-sweetened oral rehydration solutions (Pedialyte and Pediatric Electrolyte) were significantly more palatable than was a comparable rice-based solution (Enfalyte). Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00689312.