The introduction of a soy-based, lactose-free formula during the acute phase of diarrheal illness in infants has been shown to reduce stool output and duration of diarrhea in hospitalized patients. In the United States, most infants with acute diarrhea are treated as outpatients. In the present study, infants with diarrhea who were treated as outpatients were randomly assigned to receive either a soy-based, lactose-free formula alternating with oral rehydration solution from the beginning of therapy ("early feeding") or oral rehydration solution alone for the first 24 hours of therapy, followed by a soy-based, lactose-free formula alternating with oral rehydration solution (control group). Twenty-nine infants were randomly assigned to the early-feeding group and 27 to the control group. Twenty-one (72%) of 29 in the early-feeding group resolved their diarrhea at the end of 48 hours of therapy compared with 12 (44%) of 27 in the group fed oral rehydration solution only (P = .02). It is concluded that the introduction of a soy-based, lactose-free formula from the beginning of therapy for acute diarrhea in children treated as outpatients is safe and may shorten duration of diarrhea while maintaining adequate caloric intake.
- Received March 2, 1990.
- Accepted April 27, 1990.
- Copyright © 1991 by the American Academy of Pediatrics