Dr. Alan Greene answers the question, Should my daughter be on medication for mild reflux?

By Alan Greene, MD, FAAP


My 4-month-old has mild reflux. Her pediatrician put her on Reglan and Zantac. But I recently read some negative things about Reglan and took her off it. She was fine at first, but now she's coughing and spitting up quite a bit. I'm starting to wonder if I made the wrong decision and should put her back on it.


Many kids have mild reflux. The peak age is about 4 months, and most babies have outgrown it by 7 months. The simplest thing to do for reflux is to feed kids smaller volumes, more frequently -- a less full tummy is less likely to reflux.

Zantac is a medicine that decreases the acidity of what sloshes up, and Reglan is a medicine that speeds the transit of food through the tummy so it is less likely to reflux. Whether the benefits of Reglan outweigh the possible side effects depends on how severe the symptoms are. Usually we only use it if the child is not growing well, has a chronic cough or trouble breathing, or seems to be in pain -- not for just spitting up. If the cough seems to come as a result of the reflux, then the Reglan may be well worth it. The medicine is usually safer for kids than sputtering on tummy contents is.

Nausea and diarrhea are probably the most common side effects of Reglan, as you might expect from speeding things through the GI tract. There is a long list of other side effects, some of them major, but most kids who take Reglan for reflux tolerate it quite well.

You may want to mention to your doctor that you are concerned and have stopped giving the medication and then ask where to go from here.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

American Baby


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