Babies may be overmedicated for reflux

April 29, 2013 4:03:49 PM PDT
If your baby is battling acid reflux, it doesn't necessarily mean they have acid reflux disease.

New guidelines published in the journal 'Pediatrics' say doctors and parents need to take a closer look before deciding on medication.

More than two-thirds of otherwise healthy infants will develop gastroesophageal reflux. It is considered a normal physiologic process that happens several times a day in healthy babies, children, and adults.

However, they don't necessarily have gastroesophageal reflux disease, unless they develop certain complications.

Those include refusing to eat, poor weight gain, vomiting, pneumonias, sleep disturbances, or extreme irritability from the acid coming up into their esophagus.

The new recommendations call for lifestyle changes first. Those include changing positions when feeding, or giving many smaller meals a day, rather than several larger ones.

Mothers who are breastfeeding should also adjust their diets, to eliminate spicy foods.

Medications, such a proton pump acid reducers, should only be used for GERD, when complications arise.

And surgery should be the last option, reserved for children who are at risk of life-threatening complications.

The report in Pediatrics suggests there may too many children on medications, with the risk outweighing the benefits of them.