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Iron Supplement Can Reduce Or Get Rid Of Kids’ Breath-Holding Spells

May 11, 2010: 10:11 AM EST
Anti-convulsive drugs, nerve blockers and even implanted defibrillators have all failed to curb the alarming involuntary breath-holding spells that affect five percent of children, mainly toddlers. But a review of existing research – a total of 87 children from a 1969 study in India and a 1997 study in Jordan – found that a small daily dose of iron reduces or even eliminates breath-holding spells among children who are upset, in pain or surprised. The disorder can cause children to twitch and jerk around involuntarily as if suffering a seizure. But a small amount of iron administered every day clears up the problem ninety percent of the time. Pediatricians warn, however, that children who experience the spells should undergo testing to make sure there isn’t a more serious underlying cause.
Zehetner AA, et al., "Iron Supplementation for Breath-Holding Attacks in Children", Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, May 11, 2010, © The Cochrane Library
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