Acute gastroenteritis: from guidelines to real life

Clin Exp Gastroenterol. 2010;3:97-112. doi: 10.2147/ceg.s6554. Epub 2010 Jul 15.


Acute gastroenteritis is a very common disease. It causes significant mortality in developing countries and significant economic burden to developed countries. Viruses are responsible for approximately 70% of episodes of acute gastroenteritis in children and rotavirus is one of the best studied of these viruses. Oral rehydration therapy is as effective as intravenous therapy in treating mild to moderate dehydration in acute gastroenteritis and is strongly recommended as the first line therapy. However, the oral rehydration solution is described as an underused simple solution. Vomiting is one of the main reasons to explain the underuse of oral rehydration therapy. Antiemetics are not routinely recommended in treating acute gastroenteritis, though they are still commonly prescribed. Ondansetron is one of the best studied antiemetics and its role in enhancing the compliance of oral rehydration therapy and decreasing the rate of hospitalization has been proved recently. The guidelines regarding the recommendation on antiemetics have been changed according to the evidence of these recent studies.

Keywords: antiemetic; gastroenteritis; guideline; intravenous therapy; ondansetron; oral rehydration therapy; rotavirus; vomiting.