Title

Zinc supplementation as an adjunct to antibiotics in the treatment of pneumonia in children 2 to 59 months of age

Document Type

Article

Department

Women and Child Health

Abstract

Background:Diarrhoeal disorders and acute respiratory infections (ARIs), especially pneumonia, are the most common causes of death in low-income countries. Studies evaluating the impact of zinc supplementation as an adjunct in the management of pneumonia are limited and have shown variable results. Objectives: To evaluate zinc supplementation, as an adjunct to antibiotics, in the treatment (clinical recovery) of pneumonia in children aged two to 59 months. Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2011, Issue 1), which contains the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) Group's and the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group's Specialised Registers, MEDLINE (1950 to March week 2, 2011), EMBASE (1974 to March 2011), CINAHL (1981 to March 2011), LILACS (1985 to March 2011), AMED (1985 to March 2011), CAB Abstracts (1910 to March 2011) and Web of Science (2000 to March 2011). Selection criteria: Randomised control trials (RCTs) evaluating supplementation of zinc as an adjunct to antibiotics for pneumonia in children aged two to 59 months. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently assessed trial eligibility and screened all available titles and abstracts for inclusion. If the relevance could not be ascertained by screening the title and abstract, we retrieved and reviewed the full text of the article. Main results: We included four trials in which 3267 children aged two to 35 months participated. Analysis showed that zinc supplementation in addition to standard antibiotic therapy in children with severe and non-severe pneumonia failed to show a statistically significant effect on clinical recovery (risk ratio (RR) 1.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.93 to 1.11). Similary, zinc supplementation in children with severe pneumonia, as an adjunct to standard antibiotic therapy, did not show a statistically significant effect on clinical recovery measured as resolution of tachypnoea (respiratory rate > 50 breaths per minute) (RR 1.13, 95% CI 0.82 to 1.57) and cessation of chest indrawing (RR 1.08, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.31) as compared to the control group. Zinc supplementation in children with severe pneumonia also showed a non-significant effect on the duration of hospitalization stay as compared to the control (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.22).

Authors' Conclusion:

Evidence provided in this review is insufficient to recommend the use of zinc as an adjunct to standard antibiotic therapy for pneumonia in children aged two to 35 months.

Publication

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews