OBJECTIVE--To determine the effect of misoprostol, a synthetic prostaglandin E1 analogue, on the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) symptoms associated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) administration and on the haemoglobin value, in children. METHODS--Retrospective chart review of children attending the paediatric rheumatology clinic at a tertiary referral hospital over a three year period, who were receiving NSAIDs and were prescribed misoprostol for treatment of GIT symptoms or anaemia. RESULTS--Twenty five children (mean age 12.0 (SD 2.8) (range 7-17) years were prescribed misoprostol (mean dose 308.4 (76.5) micrograms/m2/day; 9.8 (2.5) micrograms/kg/day) while NSAID therapy was continued. Of the 22 (88%) patients with GIT complaints, 18 (82%) had complete resolution of symptoms and two (9%) had some improvement. Four patients (18%) had a recurrence of symptoms after initial resolution while still receiving misoprostol. Misoprostol therapy was associated with a statistically significant increase in haemoglobin concentration (mean value before misoprostol 115 (18) g/l; after misoprostol 126 (15) g/l (p = 0.02)). The only adverse effect reported was self limited diarrhoea in one child. CONCLUSION--Misoprostol appeared to be effective in the treatment of GIT symptoms in children receiving NSAIDs and to result in significant increase in the haemoglobin concentration. Further prospective studies are needed to evaluate the role of misoprostol therapy for NSAID associated GIT complaints in the paediatric population.
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