Vitamin A for preventing secondary infections in children with measles--a
D'Souza RM; D'Souza R
J Trop Pediatr 2002 Apr;48(2):72-7
The objective of the present
study was to determine whether vitamin A prevents pneumonia, diarrhoea
and other infections in children with measles. A meta-analysis was carried
out of randomized controlled trials identified through a systematic search
of the medical literature for studies that used vitamin A to treat measles.
A total of 492 children, aged from 6 months to 13 years, were supplemented
with vitamin A, and 536 children were given placebo in six trials, five
of which were conducted in hospitals and one in a community setting. The
main outcome measures were: incidence of pneumonia, diarrhoea, croup,
and otitis media; and duration of pneumonia, diarrhoea, fever and hospitalization.
There was no significant reduction in the incidence of pneumonia or diarrhoea
but there was a 47 per cent reduction in the incidence of croup (RR =
0.53; 95 per cent CI = 0.29-0.89) in children who were treated with 200
000 IU of vitamin A on 2 consecutive days. Only one study reported a 74
per cent reduction in the incidence of otitis media (RR = 0.26 95 per
cent CI = 0.05-0.92). There was a statistically significant decrease in
the duration of diarrhoea, pneumonia, hospital stay and fever in individual
studies. It was concluded that vitamin A does have a beneficial effect
on morbidity associated with measles and should be used as a treatment
for hospitalized measles cases.