How useful are pharmaceuticals in managing diarrhoeal diseases in developing countries?

Stewart Harris, Robert E. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Diarrhoea can be effectively and inexpensively managed with oral rehydration solution and adequate dietary intake. However, this frequent and potentially life-threatening illness is commonly mismanaged with Pharmaceuticals of no proven efficacy. Antimicrobial therapy, instead of being limited to the few specifically indicated conditions, is widely used, exposing patients to a risk of side-effects and contributing to the development of resistance to antibiotics in bacterial pathogens. The so-called 'antidiarrhoeal' drugs are in fact ineffective and potentially harmful and are not indicated in management of acute diarrhoea. Pharmaceuticals are often prescribed and purchased, even in developing countries where people can ill afford expensive and unnecessary therapies. This wasteful mismanagement should be corrected by enforcement of essential drug policies, through training and education on proper therapy, and by promotion of effective oral rehydration therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalHealth policy and planning
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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