Effect of High-Dose vs Standard-Dose Wintertime Vitamin D Supplementation on Viral Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Young Healthy Children

Question  Does high-dose vitamin D supplementation (2000 IU/d) help to prevent wintertime viral upper respiratory tract infections compared with standard-dose vitamin D supplementation (400 IU/d) among preschool children?

Findings  In this multisite randomized clinical trial that included 703 children, the number of wintertime laboratory-confirmed viral upper respiratory tract infections was higher in the high-dose group than the standard-dose group, not a statistically significant difference.

Meaning  Vitamin D dosing higher than 400 IU/d may not be indicated for preventing wintertime viral upper respiratory tract infections in children.

Reference: JAMA. 2017;318(3):245-254.

Screening for Obesity and Intervention for Weight Management in Children and Adolescents

Importance  Obesity is common in children and adolescents in the United States, is associated with negative health effects, and increases the likelihood of obesity in adulthood.

Objective  To systematically review the benefits and harms of screening and treatment for obesity and overweight in children and adolescents to inform the US Preventive Services Task Force.

Data Sources  MEDLINE, PubMed, PsycINFO, Cochrane Collaboration Registry of Controlled Trials, and the Education Resources Information Center through January 22, 2016; references of relevant publications; government websites. Surveillance continued through December 5, 2016.

Study Selection  English-language trials of benefits or harms of screening or treatment (behavior-based, orlistat, metformin) for overweight or obesity in children aged 2 through 18 years, conducted in or recruited from health care settings.

Data Extraction and Synthesis  Two investigators independently reviewed abstracts and full-text articles, then extracted data from fair- and good-quality trials. Random-effects meta-analysis was used to estimate the benefits of lifestyle-based programs and metformin.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Weight or excess weight (eg, body mass index [BMI]; BMI zscore, measuring the number of standard deviations from the median BMI for age and sex), cardiometabolic outcomes, quality of life, other health outcomes, harms.

Results  There was no direct evidence on the benefits or harms of screening children and adolescents for excess weight. Among 42 trials of lifestyle-based interventions to reduce excess weight (N = 6956), those with an estimated 26 hours or more of contact consistently demonstrated mean reductions in excess weight compared with usual care or other control groups after 6 to 12 months, with no evidence of causing harm. Generally, intervention groups showed absolute reductions in BMI z score of 0.20 or more and maintained their baseline weight within a mean of approximately 5 lb, while control groups showed small increases or no change in BMI z score, typically gaining a mean of 5 to 17 lb. Only 3 of 26 interventions with fewer contact hours showed a benefit in weight reduction. Use of metformin (8 studies, n = 616) and orlistat (3 studies, n = 779) were associated with greater BMI reductions compared with placebo: −0.86 (95% CI, −1.44 to −0.29; 6 studies; I2 = 0%) for metformin and −0.50 to −0.94 for orlistat. Groups receiving lifestyle-based interventions offering 52 or more hours of contact showed greater improvements in blood pressure than control groups: −6.4 mm Hg (95% CI, −8.6 to −4.2; 6 studies; I2 = 51%) for systolic blood pressure and −4.0 mm Hg (95% CI, −5.6 to −2.5; 6 studies; I2 = 17%) for diastolic blood pressure. There were mixed findings for insulin or glucose measures and no benefit for lipids. Medications showed small or no benefit for cardiometabolic outcomes, including fasting glucose level. Nonserious harms were common with medication use, although discontinuation due to adverse effects was usually less than 5%.

Conclusions and Relevance  Lifestyle-based weight loss interventions with 26 or more hours of intervention contact are likely to help reduce excess weight in children and adolescents. The clinical significance of the small benefit of medication use is unclear.

Reference: JAMA. 2017;317(23):2427-2444.

Trial of Amitriptyline, Topiramate, and Placebo for Pediatric Migraine


Which, medication, if any, to use to prevent the headache of pediatric migraine has not been established.


We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of amitriptyline (1 mg per kilogram of body weight per day), topiramate (2 mg per kilogram per day), and placebo in children and adolescents 8 to 17 years of age with migraine. Patients were randomly assigned in a 2:2:1 ratio to receive one of the medications or placebo. The primary outcome was a relative reduction of 50% or more in the number of headache days in the comparison of the 28-day baseline period with the last 28 days of a 24-week trial. Secondary outcomes were headache-related disability, headache days, number of trial completers, and serious adverse events that emerged during treatment.


A total of 361 patients underwent randomization, and 328 were included in the primary efficacy analysis (132 in the amitriptyline group, 130 in the topiramate group, and 66 in the placebo group). The trial was concluded early for futility after a planned interim analysis. There were no significant between-group differences in the primary outcome, which occurred in 52% of the patients in the amitriptyline group, 55% of those in the topiramate group, and 61% of those in the placebo group (amitriptyline vs. placebo, P=0.26; topiramate vs. placebo, P=0.48; amitriptyline vs. topiramate, P=0.49). There were also no significant between-group differences in headache-related disability, headache days, or the percentage of patients who completed the 24-week treatment period. Patients who received amitriptyline or topiramate had higher rates of several adverse events than those receiving placebo, including fatigue (30% vs. 14%) and dry mouth (25% vs. 12%) in the amitriptyline group and paresthesia (31% vs. 8%) and weight loss (8% vs. 0%) in the topiramate group. Three patients in the amitriptyline group had serious adverse events of altered mood, and one patient in the topiramate group had a suicide attempt.


There were no significant differences in reduction in headache frequency or headache-related disability in childhood and adolescent migraine with amitriptyline, topiramate, or placebo over a period of 24 weeks. The active drugs were associated with higher rates of adverse events. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; CHAMP ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01581281).

N Engl J Med 2017; 376:115-124January 12, 2017

Shortened Antimicrobial Treatment for Acute Otitis Media in Young Children


Limiting the duration of antimicrobial treatment constitutes a potential strategy to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance among children with acute otitis media.


We assigned 520 children, 6 to 23 months of age, with acute otitis media to receive amoxicillin–clavulanate either for a standard duration of 10 days or for a reduced duration of 5 days followed by placebo for 5 days. We measured rates of clinical response (in a systematic fashion, on the basis of signs and symptomatic response), recurrence, and nasopharyngeal colonization, and we analyzed episode outcomes using a noninferiority approach. Symptom scores ranged from 0 to 14, with higher numbers indicating more severe symptoms.


Children who were treated with amoxicillin–clavulanate for 5 days were more likely than those who were treated for 10 days to have clinical failure (77 of 229 children [34%] vs. 39 of 238 [16%]; difference, 17 percentage points [based on unrounded data]; 95% confidence interval, 9 to 25). The mean symptom scores over the period from day 6 to day 14 were 1.61 in the 5-day group and 1.34 in the 10-day group (P=0.07); the mean scores at the day-12-to-14 assessment were 1.89 versus 1.20 (P=0.001). The percentage of children whose symptom scores decreased more than 50% (indicating less severe symptoms) from baseline to the end of treatment was lower in the 5-day group than in the 10-day group (181 of 227 children [80%] vs. 211 of 233 [91%], P=0.003). We found no significant between-group differences in rates of recurrence, adverse events, or nasopharyngeal colonization with penicillin-nonsusceptible pathogens. Clinical-failure rates were greater among children who had been exposed to three or more children for 10 or more hours per week than among those with less exposure (P=0.02) and were also greater among children with infection in both ears than among those with infection in one ear (P<0.001).


Among children 6 to 23 months of age with acute otitis media, reduced-duration antimicrobial treatment resulted in less favorable outcomes than standard-duration treatment; in addition, neither the rate of adverse events nor the rate of emergence of antimicrobial resistance was lower with the shorter regimen. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Center for Research Resources; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01511107.)

N Engl J Med 2016; 375:2446-2456December 22, 2016

Differential effect of mass deworming and targeted deworming for soil-transmitted helminth control in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis


Soil-transmitted helminth infections are a major global health issue, causing substantial morbidity in the world’s poorest populations. Regular delivery of anthelmintic drugs is the mainstay for global soil-transmitted helminth control. Deworming campaigns are often targeted to school-aged children, who are at high risk of soil-transmitted-helminth-associated morbidity. However, findings from modelling studies suggest that deworming campaigns should be expanded community-wide for effective control of soil-transmitted helminth transmission. We aimed to do a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare the effect of mass (community-wide) and targeted (children only) anthelmintic delivery strategies on soil-transmitted helminth prevalence in school-aged children.


In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we searched MEDLINE, Embase, and Web of Science for articles published on or before Nov 5, 2015, reporting soil-transmitted helminth prevalence before and after distribution of albendazole or mebendazole, either targeted to children or delivered to the whole community. We excluded studies in which drug delivery was restricted to infected individuals or to a subset of the community or school, or if follow-up time was less than 3 months or greater than 18 months after drug delivery. We extracted data on study year, country, drug administration strategy, drug dose, number of deworming rounds, treatment coverage, diagnostic method, follow-up interval, and soil-transmitted helminth prevalence before and after treatment. We used inverse variance weighted generalised linear models, with prevalence reduction as the outcome variable, to examine the effect of mass versus targeted drug administration, as well as baseline prevalence, number of drug doses, and follow-up time. This study is registered with PROSPERO, number CRD42016026929.


Of 10 538 studies identified, 56 studies were eligible for the systematic review and 38 of these were included in meta-analysis. Results of the regression models showed that mass deworming led to a significantly greater reduction in prevalence in children than targeted deworming, for both hookworm (odds ratio 4·6, 95% CI 1·8–11·6; p=0·0020) and Ascaris lumbricoides (16·4, 2·1–125·8; p=0·0092), with no effect seen for Trichuris trichiura. There was significant heterogeneity across studies; for targeted studies I2 was 97% for A lumbricoides and hookworm, and 96% for T trichiura, and for mass studies, I2 was 89% for A lumbricoides, 49% for hookworm, and 66% for T trichiura.


The results of this meta-analysis suggest that expanding deworming programmes community-wide is likely to reduce the prevalence of soil-transmitted helminths in the high-risk group of school-aged children, which could lead to improved morbidity outcomes. These findings are in support of recent calls for re-evaluation of global soil-transmitted helminth control guidelines.



Reference: The Lancet online, 12th December 2016

Safety of Adding Salmeterol to Fluticasone Propionate in Children with Asthma

BACKGROUND Long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs) have been shown to increase the risk of asthma-related death among adults and the risk of asthma-related hospitalization among children. It is unknown whether the concomitant use of inhaled glucocorticoids with LABAs mitigates those risks. This trial prospectively evaluated the safety of the LABA salmeterol, added to fluticasone propionate, in a fixed-dose combination in children.

METHODS We randomly assigned, in a 1:1 ratio, children 4 to 11 years of age who required daily asthma medications and had a history of asthma exacerbations in the previous year to receive fluticasone propionate plus salmeterol or fluticasone alone for 26 weeks. The primary safety end point was the first serious asthma-related event (death, endotracheal intubation, or hospitalization), as assessed in a time-to-event analysis. The statistical design specified that noninferiority would be shown if the upper boundary of the 95% confidence interval of the hazard ratio for the primary safety end point was less than 2.675. The main efficacy end point was the first severe asthma exacerbation that led to treatment with systemic glucocorticoids, as assessed in a time-to-event analysis.

RESULTS Among the 6208 patients, 27 patients in the fluticasone–salmeterol group and 21 in the fluticasone-alone group had a serious asthma-related event (all were hospitalizations); the hazard ratio with fluticasone–salmeterol versus fluticasone alone was 1.28 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.73 to 2.27), which showed the noninferiority of fluticasone–salmeterol (P=0.006). A total of 265 patients (8.5%) in the fluticasone–salmeterol group and 309 (10.0%) in the fluticasone-alone group had a severe asthma exacerbation (hazard ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.73 to 1.01).

CONCLUSIONS In this trial involving children with asthma, salmeterol in a fixed-dose combination with fluticasone was associated with the risk of a serious asthma-related event that was similar to the risk with fluticasone alone. (Funded by GlaxoSmithKline; VESTRI ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01462344.)

N Engl J Med 2016; 375:840-849

Comparative efficacy and tolerability of antidepressants for major depressive disorder in children and adolescents: a network meta-analysis


Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in children and adolescents. However, whether to use pharmacological interventions in this population and which drug should be preferred are still matters of controversy. Consequently, we aimed to compare and rank antidepressants and placebo for major depressive disorder in young people.


We did a network meta-analysis to identify both direct and indirect evidence from relevant trials. We searched PubMed, the Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, LiLACS, regulatory agencies’ websites, and international registers for published and unpublished, double-blind randomised controlled trials up to May 31, 2015, for the acute treatment of major depressive disorder in children and adolescents. We included trials of amitriptyline, citalopram, clomipramine, desipramine, duloxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, imipramine, mirtazapine, nefazodone, nortriptyline, paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine. Trials recruiting participants with treatment-resistant depression, treatment duration of less than 4 weeks, or an overall sample size of less than ten patients were excluded. We extracted the relevant information from the published reports with a predefined data extraction sheet, and assessed the risk of bias with the Cochrane risk of bias tool. The primary outcomes were efficacy (change in depressive symptoms) and tolerability (discontinuations due to adverse events). We did pair-wise meta-analyses using the random-effects model and then did a random-effects network meta-analysis within a Bayesian framework. We assessed the quality of evidence contributing to each network estimate using the GRADE framework. This study is registered with PROSPERO, number CRD42015016023.


We deemed 34 trials eligible, including 5260 participants and 14 antidepressant treatments. The quality of evidence was rated as very low in most comparisons. For efficacy, only fluoxetine was statistically significantly more effective than placebo (standardised mean difference −0·51, 95% credible interval [CrI] −0·99 to −0·03). In terms of tolerability, fluoxetine was also better than duloxetine (odds ratio [OR] 0·31, 95% CrI 0·13 to 0·95) and imipramine (0·23, 0·04 to 0·78). Patients given imipramine, venlafaxine, and duloxetine had more discontinuations due to adverse events than did those given placebo (5·49, 1·96 to 20·86; 3·19, 1·01 to 18·70; and 2·80, 1·20 to 9·42, respectively). In terms of heterogeneity, the global I2 values were 33·21% for efficacy and 0% for tolerability.


When considering the risk–benefit profile of antidepressants in the acute treatment of major depressive disorder, these drugs do not seem to offer a clear advantage for children and adolescents. Fluoxetine is probably the best option to consider when a pharmacological treatment is indicated.


National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program).

The Lancet, Volume 388, No. 10047, p881–890, 27 August 2016