Polymer-based oral rehydration solution for treating acute watery diarrhoea
Polymer-based ORS shows some advantages compared to ORS ≥ 310 [the original ORS was based on glucose and had an osmolarity of ≥ 310 mOsm/L] for treating all-cause diarrhoea, and in diarrhoea caused by cholera. Comparisons favoured the polymer-based ORS over ORS ≤ 270 [the currently agreed best formula with ≤ 270 mOsm/L], but the analysis was underpowered.
ORS has had a massive impact worldwide in reducing the number of deaths related to diarrhoea. Most ORS is in the form of a sugar-salt solution, but over the years people have tried adding a variety of compounds (glucose polymers) such as whole rice, wheat, sorghum, and maize. The aim is to slowly release glucose into the gut and improve the absorption of the water and salt in the solution. This review compares polymer-based ORS with glucose-based ORS for treating acute watery diarrhoea.