Efficacy of Adjunctive Zinc in Improving the Treatment Outcomes in Hospitalized Children with Pneumonia: A Randomized Controlled Trial


Background: The mortality rate of pneumonia is high, placing a huge burden on developing countries. Healthcare professionals use zinc as an adjunctive treatment for children with pneumonia; however, this contradicts with some published reports. Thus, this study aimed to assess the efficacy of zinc supplementation on the treatment outcomes of pneumonia.

Methods: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted on hospitalized children with pneumonia. The children randomly received either zinc bis-glycinate (15 mg elemental zinc) or placebo, twice per day. The primary outcome was the resolution time of pneumonia, and the secondary outcomes were the duration of hospitalization and the recovery times of each clinical symptom.

Results: Out of the 91 children, 65 (71.4%) were males. The resolution period of clinical pneumonia was significantly shorter in the zinc group than the placebo group (48 and 72 h, respectively; hazard ratio = 0.585, 95% confidence interval 0.377-0.908). Similarly, the hospitalization period and the resolution period of fever were shorter in the zinc group [96 and 144 h (p = 0.008), and 24 and 42 h (p = 0.002), respectively]. Children receiving zinc needed a median of 28 h to reach the normal level of oxygen saturation compared to 48 h required by children under placebo (p = 0.014).

Conclusion: Zinc supplementation enhanced the treatment outcomes of pneumonia, by reducing the resolution period of pneumonia and normalizing oxygen levels and body temperature. The length of hospital stay for children receiving zinc was shorter than those receiving placebo.

PMID: 31821466 DOI: 10.1093/tropej/fmz082

Source: Lakkana Rerksuppaphol 1, Sanguansak Rerksuppaphol 2

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