How effective are zinc supplements in preventing otitis media in children living in low and middle-income countries?
The main weakness of the data is most trials, when presenting data, did not differentiate between acute otitis media and chronic suppurative otitis media, which may have more severe consequences, including permanent deafness. Zinc supplements did not seem to cause any serious adverse events, but a small minority of children were reported to have vomited shortly after ingestion of the supplements.
Otitis media affects people of all ages, but is particularly common in young children. Around 164 million people worldwide have longterm hearing loss caused by this condition, 90% of them in lowincome countries. Zinc supplements have been shown to prevent pneumonia in disadvantaged children, so it was thought they may also prevent otitis media.