Effect of Oral Zinc Sulfate Therapy on the Management of Neonatal Non-Hemolytic Unconjugated Hyperbi-lirubinemia: A Randomized Control Trial

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Pediatric, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt


Background: Zinc (Zn) salts have been tried for the prevention and treatment of neonatal jaundice as they are presumed to reduce serum bilirubin through the inhibition of enterohepatic circulation with controversial results. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of Zn sulfate on both bilirubin levels and the duration of phototherapy during the management of neonatal jaundice.
Methods: A double-blinded prospective study was conducted on 60 healthy neonates, ≥36 weeks gestation, with unconjugated non-hemolytic neonatal hyperbilirubinemia requiring phototherapy within the first week of life. They were divided into three groups of: A (n=20) receiving placebo, B (n=20) receiving low-dose oral Zn sulfate (10mg/day), and C (n=20) receiving high-dose oral Zn sulfate (20 mg/day), in combination with phototherapy for seven days. Serum bilirubin levels were measured on day 1 before starting the treatment and were reevaluated on days 3 and 7.
Results: Day 3 bilirubin was significantly lower in group C, compared to groups A and B (12.36±2.50 vs. 13.99±1.59 and 13.65±1.67 mg%; P<0.011 and P<0.043, respectively). Moreover, day-7 bilirubin demonstrated a significant decrease in group C than in group A (8.03±1.75 vs. 10.47±2.24 mg%, P<0.001). Total phototherapy duration was significantly shorter in group C, compared to groups A and B (26.05±11.42 vs. 37.70±18.27 and 36.90±12.47 h; P<0.032 and P<0.028, respectively).
Conclusion: The administration of oral Zn sulfate in a dose of 20 mg/day in combination with phototherapy could be helpful and safe in reducing both bilirubin level and phototherapy duration in jaundiced neonates.


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