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Intro: Prior research using oral rehydration solutions (ORS) have focused primarily on diarrhea secondary to infectious diseases such as cholera. We evaluated the efficacy of supplying oral rehydration solution (ORS) to patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Method: Patients undergoing one of four chemotherapy treatments (CAF, EC, FOLFIRI, or IFL), in one of eleven hospitals, with HDI scores largely representative of the global population (Range: 0.48-0.89), were divided semi-randomly into two groups. Patients in the test group received a low-osmolarity oral rehydration solution powder, and instructed to consume it with water. Patients in the control group did not get the rehydration solution. Return hospital visits were tallied for both groups during the first three months of treatment. Mean return visits per hospital, per treatment, were calculated for each group. A t-test for independent samples was conducted on these data points.

Results: Welch’s t was used to make corrected group comparisons between the groups. It found a significant difference in monthly return visit rate between the control group (M = 4.35, SD = 0.61) and the test group (M = 0.94, SD = 0.18), t(23.386) = 24.5, p < .001, d = 7.58. The effect size of this difference was remarkably large.

Discussion: Patients who had access to the ORS had return visit rates that were less than 25% of those who did not. This reduction in hospital visits demonstrates that the medical use of appropriate ORS can be used as a supplement treatment for chemotherapy patients.