A study to assess the therapeutic response of iron and zinc in children with PICA

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Pica is defined as habitual ingestion of nonfood substances like earth, clay, sand, paints chips, chalk, hair etc., beyond the normal stage and occasional indiscriminate and experimental mouthing and swallowing. Pica has always been a very fascinating topic for paediatricians however it is considered a serious eating disorder that can sometimes result in serious health problems and medical sequelae. There are various theories for the development of Pica like Nutritional deficiency theory, psychosocial ailments theory. Nutritional deficiencies especially low levels of iron and zinc have been demonstrated in children with pica in several studies. It has been observed that we can significantly reduce the chances of developing pica in children by supplementing them with Iron and zinc. In this double – blind randomized controlled study we have evaluated the therapeutic beneficial effects of iron and zinc in children with pica. Children of either sex, between the ages of 2 to 12 years who were having history of pica for at least one year duration were included. Children were randomly divided into 2 groups. Group ‘A’ received iron and zinc where as group ‘B’ received placebo for total duration of three months. Therapeutic response assessed clinically and by different bio chemical parameters like Haemoglobin, serum Iron and Zinc levels at 6weeks and after completion of the study i.e. 3 months. Statistical software SPSS (version 11.5) and Paired test were used for statistical analysis. At 6 weeks group “A” showed 22% complete clinical cure as compared to Placebo group “B” where 84% had no improvement at all. By the end of therapy 80% children of Iron and zinc group were completely clinically cured whereas no case of complete cure observed with placebo group. Although all the biochemical parameters were less as compared to the normal values in general population at 6 weeks but the difference was not statistically significant. However, after completion of therapy there was some improvement in the parameter but that also was not statistically significant. The study shows rapid improvement in pica, after children were prescribed supplementary iron and zinc in addition to dietary iron and zinc supplementation. © 2014, Global Research Online. All rights reserved.

AuthorSharma, J., Dhar, K., Chopra, V.S., Agrawal, A., Jhingran, S., Gaur, P.
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences R

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