Is medication for acid reflux safe for my baby?

Q: My baby has acid reflux and the pediatrician suggested she take medication for it. Is this safe?

A: While no drug is totally free from side effects, rest assured that many of the most common drugs given for acid reflux are very safe and effective. And since most babies outgrow acid reflux by 6 months or so, they usually don't need to take the meds for very long.   There are three types of medications routinely used for acid reflux: antacids (like Mylanta), H2 blockers (like Zantac), and proton pump inhibitors (like Prevacid). All work a little differently to either block or prevent your baby's production of stomach acid. These tend to have minimal side effects (constipation being the most common one).

Although we know you don't want to give your baby any unnecessary drugs, when all else fails reflux meds can make her much more comfortable and can help her eat properly and get the nutrients she needs to grow and thrive. You can also ease your bay's reflux by keeping her upright while she eats and for about 20 minutes afterward. Some pediatricians suggest giving your baby smaller, more frequent meals of breast milk or formula thickened with a tablespoon of rice cereal (sometimes the thicker the food, the less likely it is to slosh back up out of the stomach).

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.