Brief report: Randomized controlled trial of zinc supplementation for persistent diarrhea in adults with HIV-1 infection

César Cárcamo, Thomas Hooton, Noel S. Weiss, Robert Gilman, Mark H. Wener, Victor Chavez, Rosario Meneses, Juan Echevarria, Margot Vidal, King K. Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: In children, zinc supplementation reduces the incidence and severity of diarrhea. METHODS: HIV-infected adults with ≥7 days of diarrhea recruited at 3 tertiary hospitals in Lima, Peru, received a zinc sulfate capsule containing 50 mg of elemental zinc twice daily or an identical placebo for 14 days. Outcomes included persistence of diarrhea at day 14 and time until cessation of diarrhea. RESULTS: The 81 subjects randomized to zinc and 78 randomized to placebo were comparable at baseline, except for higher prevalences of certain enteric pathogens in the zinc group; complete follow-up rates were 62% and 69%, respectively. Zinc concentrations were consistent with zinc deficiency at follow-up in 94% of placebo recipients and 66% of zinc recipients (P = 0.01). Persistence of diarrhea at day 14 according to follow-up interview (60% for zinc-treated patients and 57.4% for placebo-treated patients) or to patient diary (42.2% vs. 31.9%) did not differ significantly. Adjusting for enteric pathogens and CD4 count, the hazard ratio (HR) for zinc supplementation and cessation of diarrhea (according to the diaries) was 0.91 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.50 to 1.64). CONCLUSION: Supplemental zinc had no significant effect on the duration or remission of diarrhea in HIV-infected adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-201
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006



  • AIDS
  • Diarrhea
  • HIV
  • Trial of zinc supplementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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