A no charge prescription for oral rehydration solution during an initial office visit for acute diarrhoea in children decreased unscheduled follow up visits
QUESTION: Does the provision of a no charge prescription for oral rehydration solution (ORS) during the initial office visit for acute diarrhoea in children increase ORS use and decrease unscheduled follow up visits?
Randomised (allocation not concealed), unblinded, controlled trial with follow up at 10 days.
7 health centres of a large, urban health maintenance organisation in and around Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
522 infants and young children aged 0–60 months who had acute diarrhoea, defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools within the previous 24 hours. Exclusion criteria were diarrhoea for >7 days, chronic gastrointestinal disease, or symptomatic immunodeficiency states (eg, AIDS). Follow up was 92% (mean age 18.9 mo, 59% boys).
Each of 7 centres was randomly assigned to the intervention or to standard treatment for a 2 week …