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Tropical sprue

  • Treatment

    Treatment begins with plenty of fluids and electrolytes. Replacement of folate, iron, vitamin B12, and other nutrients may also be needed. Antibiotic therapy with tetracycline or another broad-spectrum antibiotic is given at the beginning of treatment.

    Oral tetracycline is usually not prescribed for children until after all of their permanent teeth have appeared, because it can permanently discolor teeth that are still forming.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The outcome is good with treatment.


    Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common complications.

    In children, sprue leads to:

    • Delay in the maturing of bones (skeletal maturation)
    • Growth failure

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if:

    • Tropical sprue symptoms get worse or do not improve with treatment
    • You develop new symptoms
    • You have diarrhea or other symptoms of this disorder for a long period of time, especially after spending time in the tropics