Paediatrics and Child Health (Canada)
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Ondansetron is a useful adjunct for the treatment of acute gastroenteritis in the paediatric ED. The use of ondansetron is associated with many benefits including decreased emesis, decreased need for intravenous fluids, decreased rate of admission, decreased length of stay, decreased revisit rates and increased cost savings (15-18). There may be value in giving patients a second as-needed home dose of ondansetron as part of ED discharge planning, with the appropriate patient education, in anticipation of recurrent emesis. This practice may further reduce ED revisit rates and also prevent morbidity and hospitalization associated with severe dehydration for patients who do eventually return to the ED, especially those in rural communities where timely treatment and access to an ED is difficult. The decision to dispense ondansetron should be made clinically by the ED physician for patients who have failed ORT whose symptoms are predominantly emesis as opposed to diarrhea, and when the discharging physician is reasonably certain of a diagnosis of acute gastroenteritis and not something more sinister. There is currently no consensus on the role of ED-provided ondansetron for out-of-hospital use for paediatric patients with acute gastroenteritis. Future studies are needed to determine the potential impact on morbidity and the health care economy. ©2014 Pulsus Group Inc. All rights reserved.