To determine the benefit of using an H2-receptor antagonist in children with abdominal pain and dyspepsia, 25 such children were enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of famotidine. Global and quantitative pain assessments were done before and after each treatment period. The quantitative assessment was calculated based on the abdominal pain score that was the sum of three components. Based on the global evaluation, there was a clear benefit of famotidine over placebo (68% vs 12%). Using the quantitative assessment, however, the mean improvement of the score using famotidine versus placebo was not statistically significant (3.37 ± 3.53 vs 1.66 ± 2.7). There was a significant improvement in this score during the first treatment period regardless of medication used (period effect: P = 0.05). A subset of patients with peptic symptoms demonstrated a significant drug effect that outweighed the period effect (drug effect: P = 0.01; period effect: P = 0.02). We conclude that famotidine subjectively improves the symptoms of children with recurrent abdominal pain but not objectively using the derived score. However, famotidine is significantly more effective than placebo among children with peptic symptoms. The use of this simple scoring scale may facilitate selecting those children who will benefit from H2-receptor antagonist therapy.
- H-receptor antagonist
- Recurrent abdominal pain