Objective. To assess the effects of glucose (G)-oral rehydration solution (ORS), rice dextrin (RD)-ORS, and rice flour (RF)-ORS on fluid intake, rapidity of rehydration, and stool output of children with acute diarrhea and mild or moderate dehydration.

Methods. The study was a randomized, double-masked clinical trial. One hundred forty-six male infants, ages 3 to 36 months, were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups. Clinical evaluations and fluid balances were conducted every 2 to 4 hours for 48 hours. Principal outcome variables were ORS consumption, recovery of hydration status, and fecal output.

Results. The groups were similar at admission with regard to age, nutritional status, history of the current episode, and clinical status. There were no differences in ORS consumption by treatment group during any period of study. During the first 6-hour period, patients in group RF had less stool output (16 ± 14 g/kg/body weight) than those in group G (22 ± 20 g/kg) or RD (21 ± 19 g/kg; P < .05). After 12 hours of hospitalization, there were no differences by treatment group. Recovery of hydration status, changes in serum sodium and potassium, and duration of diarrhea in the hospital were similar in all three groups.

Conclusion. There was a 24% to 27% reduction in stool output during the first 6 hours of treatment among children who received RF-ORS compared with those who received G-ORS or RD-ORS, but this effect did not persist after the first 12 hours of therapy. Because this difference was of small magnitude and limited duration, it has minor clinical importance. Thus, we conclude that the three solutions had similar efficacy for children with acute, watery diarrhea and mild or moderate dehydration.

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