Eric Hassall, a pediatric gastroenterologist from Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation in San Francisco, conducted a study with about 1 million infants. The results revealed a seven-fold increase in prescriptions for drugs like Nexium for infants between 1999 and 2004.
Hassall believes children are over medicated and that spitting up is not a problematic symptom, it’s just part of being a baby.
But parents are bombarded with advertising, leading them to “blur the lines between normality and pathologies,” Hassall wrote.
Danger to the baby
Hassall says there is no science that backs using these stomach acid meds in infants, but there is “GERD mania,” according to Hassall. While the medications have been shown to help adults, the largest clinical trial in infants found that a proton pump inhibitor was no better than placebo. To top it off, Hassall believes the medications could do more damage than good.
“Acid is an early line of defense against infection and important for absorption of certain nutrients,” Hassall wrote. A slew of health problems are more common in people who’ve taken acid-suppressing medications, including acute gastroenteritis, one type of pneumonia and food allergies. Infants might be at risk these illnesses just because they took the medications.
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