We performed this review to find out whether medicines or diet changes are better than no intervention at preventing children (up to 18 years of age) who had been treated for kidney stones from getting kidney stones again.
Many children form kidney stones for unclear reasons and require treatment. Changes in what they eat and drink or medicines (or both) may help lower the risk of these children to get kidney stones again but we do not know how well this works and what the side effects are.
We examined research published up to 14 February 2017. We looked for studies of boys and girls from age one to 18 years who sometime before had problems with kidney stones and who were assigned to a different diet or a medicine (or both) to stop the stones from coming back for at least 12 months. We were most interested in whether the stones returned, how many side effects there were and if children had to have more treatments for kidney stones.
We only found one small study with 125 children (72 boys and 53 girls) who had been treated with waves similar to those that carry sound, so-called shock waves to treat their kidney stones. These children formed kidney stones for unknown reasons and had otherwise normal kidneys. Fifty-two children had no more stones and 44 children still had small stone pieces left when they started the study. One group was given a medicine by mouth called potassium citrate; the other group was given no special medicine. The children were on this study for about two years.
The study reported on the findings in 96 children; 48 in each group. Based on this study, we found that this medicine may result in stones coming back less often. However, we are not sure about this finding because the study was not of good quality and small. One in eight patients stopped the medicine because of side effects. We did not find any information on how often children had to be treated for stones again.
Quality of the evidence
The evidence quality for stones coming back less often was low and that for side effects very low. We found no evidence on how often children had to be treated for stones again.