To investigate the prescription pattern of antiemetic medications in 0- to 9-year-old children with infectious gastroenteritis in several industrialized countries during 2005.
We retrospectively retrieved data from 4 national and international databases (IMS MIDAS, IMS disease analyzer, WIdO databases).
Between 2% and 23% of children with gastroenteritis (International Classification of Diseases code A08.X or A09) received prescriptions for antiemetic medications (United States, 23%; 95% CI, 15-31; Germany, 17%; 95% CI, 15-20; France, 17%; 95% CI, 14-19; Spain, 15%; 95% CI, 10-19; Italy, 11%; 95% CI, 7-16; Canada, 3%; 95% CI, 0-16; United Kingdom, 2%; 95% CI, 1-2). The antihistamines dimenhydrinate and diphenhydramine were most frequently used in Germany and Canada, whereas promethazine was prescribed preferentially in the United States. In France, Spain, and Italy, the dopamine receptor antagonist domperidone was preferred as antiemetic treatment. Ondansetron was used in a minor proportion of antiemetic prescriptions (Germany, Canada, Spain, and Italy, 0%; United States, 3%; United Kingdom, 6%).
Antiemetic drugs are frequently used in children with gastroenteritis. In different industrialized countries, prescription of antiemetic medication varies considerably. Ondansetron, the only drug with evidence-based antiemetic efficacy, plays a minor role among antiemetic prescriptions.