To determine the effectiveness of tormentil root extract (TRE) for treatment of rotavirus diarrhea in children.
Rotavirus, one of the most widely spread pathogens of acute, dehydrating diarrhea in children, is estimated to cause >800 000 annual deaths of young children in developing countries. Currently no rotavirus vaccine is available. Management involves rehydration therapy. Available antiperistaltic or antisecretory drugs to reduce the severity of diarrhea can cause serious side effects in children.
A randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled trial was conducted at Children’s Hospital for Infectious Diseases #3, St. Petersburg, Russia in 40 children ranging in age from 3 months to 7 years with rotavirus diarrhea. We constructed 2 groups for comparison: a treatment group that consisted of 20 children treated with tormentil root extract; and a control group of 20 children who received a placebo. All patients received 3 drops of tormentil root extract or placebo per year of life, three times daily until discontinuation of diarrhea, or a maximum of 5 days. An objective method was used to evaluate diarrhea, and physical examination was used to assess degree of dehydration in children.
The duration of diarrhea in the tormentil root extract treatment group was 3 days, compared with 5 days in the control group (P < 0.0001). In the treatment group 8 of 20 (40%) children were diarrhea-free 48 h after admission to the hospital, compared with 1 of 20 (5%) in the control group (P < 0.0001). Subjects in the treatment group received smaller volumes of parenteral fluids than subjects in the control group.
The administration of tormentil root extract in controlled doses shortened the duration of rotavirus diarrhea and decreased the requirement for rehydration solutions. Tormentil root extract appears to be an effective measure to treat rotavirus diarrhea in children.