Reflux Medication

Updated on August 28, 2009
S.M. asks from Hampton, VA
18 answers

Hi, I posted on here a couple months ago about my son having reflux. Well, I have a few questions. He has been seen by a gi specialist who has him taking prilosec and has just recently added erythromycin. Prilosec reduces the acid and erythro makes the stomach empty faster. Yes, it's an antibiotic but it's used for reflux in small doses.I hate giving him all these meds. He is 3 months old. But we went a week with nothing and it was awful. Screamed all the time. Anyways, just started the erythro yesterday and he got diarrhea. He normally only goes once a day or sometimes every other. Just wondering if anybody has used these meds with there baby for reflux??? And the dr also wanted rice cereal added to bottle to thicken and keep down better. Tried it for about a week and he started coughing and choking so I stopped it. The gi dr said then to try beech nut brand because for some reason babies tolerate better. Well I didn't want to and just stopped it all together. Well, decided later to go ahead and try it and I did and there was no coughing or choking (yet). Maybe it is more tolerable. I just don't like the cereal in the bottle because he is taking less formula and eats less often. That can't be good. Anyways, if anyone has any advice I would love it. We have tried literally EVERYTHING there is for reflux from meds to positioning. I know he will eventually grow out of it but until then I can't handle him being so uncomfortable off of meds.

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K.T.

answers from Richmond on

Never heard of using antibiotics to help treat reflux but do know that my husband is allergic to erythromycin (it upsets his stomach really bad) so just keep an eye on his BM's and if they continue then it is probably a result of the antibiotics.

Also, my son had reflux as an infant. He was on reflux medication for awhile that tasted like peppermint - terrible!!! I think it did more harm than good. We also tried every formula out there and were also told to put the rice cereal in his bottles to thicken up the formula so he could hold it down better. Eventually, we stopped the reflux medicine, stopped the rice and started giving him Nestle's Carnation Good Start formula and it made a world of difference! He could tolerate it much better than any of the other formulas (even all those high priced specialty formulas)!

Good luck with everything!

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E.K.

answers from Washington DC on

i can tell you that the diarrhea is from the antibiotics. Try adding probiotcis for infants to the milk. I know that the drs all say not to intro yogurt until 9-12months. Whenever my children got stomach issues, or they were on antibiotics, even before they were 6 months old, I would a teaspoon of yogurt to the cereal, bottle, or whatever they were eating. I would finish the rest myself and add some fruit to it. I am very health conscious, I use organic products and natural products as often as possible. Even my cleaning products are all natural. The reason that I mention that is because I would seek out a homeopathic dr and ask him/her the best course of treatment. SOmetimes the older remedies work better, and are much safer than introducing medicines into tiny bodies that still need to learn how to function correctly.
I hope this helped, and that I don't sound like a nutcase

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S.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Dear S.,

My heart is really going out to you because I went through this with my daughter. I really hated giving such a small baby what seemed like serious medication, but it really helped her. I did a few things that together, made a huge difference in her comfort. I was nursing, so I took all dairy out of my diet (even hidden milk-related ingredients in baked goods, etc.). Just taking out milk and cheese wasn't enough. Tomatoes also had to go. When I did supplement with formula, I ended up using Alimentum, which she tolerated really well. At 3 months, we put her on Zantac, and she napped for the first time since she was a 3 weeks old (she would only have these half-hour "catnaps").

But she was still in pain with eating and when we added Prilosec she got much better. So for us, the combination of Zantac and Prilosec was what worked. Zantac inhibits acid production, and Prilosec inhibits the mechanism that pumps acid into their stomach. We had to adjust the Zantac dosage as she got bigger, and we could tell when we needed to do it because she would be doing better for a while and then relapse until her pediatrician upped the dosage. I questioned myself every day about these meds, but when we didn't use them, she was in such terrible pain, and we really tried all the other suggestions related to diet, keeping her upright during and after feeding, etc.

Like you, I did not feel right about adding rice cereal to formula. There are some studies that say that babies who are fed this way do not learn how to tell when they are full and this leads to greater chance of being overwieght when they get older. Here is a link on that but I am sure you could find more info online: http://www.parenting.com/article/Baby/Feeding/Mythbuster-...

The other things that helped soothe her and helped her sleep were swaddling her in the Miracle blanket (if we didn't swaddle her tight enough, she got more upset, but getting her snugly wrapped up really relaxed her once she was bundled). We actually did this until she was 5 months old and too big to swaddle. And I got a sleep incline wedge made out of memory foam which helped a lot. The other main thing was using Baby's Bliss Gripe Water (amazing results - made with ginger and fennel which are natural digestive soothers) and a pacifier. Sometimes to get her to sleep I dipped the pacifier in the gripe water and then gently held the pacifier for her until she fell asleep.

I bet this sounds rediculous to anyone who doesn't struggle with reflux, but when your baby screams, when you feel like your attempts to nourish them are causing them severe pain, and when they (and you) don't sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time, day or night, you try a lot of things and do what you can to help them heal, sleep and grow.

A website that I found that was also a source of support for me was "momswearingpuke.com" but I don't know if that is still around. Another great one is Kellymom.com, which is centered around breastfeeding but also has a lot of great information on food sensitivities and reflux in general: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/reflux.html.

OK, this may be more than you asked for, but having gone through this, it will be really heartening for me if I can help others. Let me know if you want to exchange emails or talk "offline" some time. Keep following your instincts, and know that you are not alone!
S.

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Z.B.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi S., we feel your pain. BOTH of our children have severe acid reflux. They are now 5 & 2 and never outgrew the problem. We found success with prilosec and/or prevacid in the morning and pepcid in the evening. I too was told to do the cereal in the bottle and they never really took bottles. You mention formula....there is an organic milk based one that seems to be tolerated a lot better. I also put probiotics in the one bottle they took and used a syringe to get them to take it...it helped break food down, aid digestion and help with any intestinal issues. Finally, I also took them to see a pediatric chiropracter. She did wonders for them.

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C.M.

answers from Richmond on

When our daughter was small she also had reflux and nothing worked. One day our Ped. prescribed Carafate Suspension - it is taken like 20 - 30 minutes before eating. This did wonders for her - she was like a new child. No more screaming! I would ask about that. I'm like you, I don't like to give a lot of meds. Wish you luck. That is a terible thing!

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C.H.

answers from Cumberland on

The cereal fills hiim up and that is why he is not taking as much formula. This is okay, he is getting nutrients from the cereal also. My advice is, follow your doctors orders and keep lines of communication open. Talk to him, tell him your concerns. Tell him about the dirrhea which is the antibiotic. He is a professional, however if you feel he isn't , get a second opinion, from another doctor. Don't follow some strangers advice on some internet site. It is Silly that people will follow a strangers advice who may or may not have even a highschool education and not follow through with a Doctors adivce who has had approx 10 year of school.

Mother of 5, Grandmother of 10

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C.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Both of my kids had reflux. My daughter was on zantac and then prevacid. We had her on Similac Alimentum, which helped a lot but is very expensive. Similac has a formula that has rice added to it, I think it my AR, so if he is choking when you add the rice, maybe try that kind. My son was on Zantac and then Axid. The Axid did help a lot. We had rice cereal added to the bottle of regular Similac and he did fine with it. Choking and coughing are signs of reflux, could it be just the reflux and not the rice cereal? Maybe try increasing or decreasing the amount and make sure the nipple hole is enlarged so he can get the formula with cereal without having to work it. Putting cereal in the bottle is giving him more calories so he probably doesn't need to eat as often. Good luck. It does pass eventually.

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C.M.

answers from Washington DC on

S., I feel your pain. Both of my children had/have reflux. At the time my son was diagnosed, they put him on the prilosec and another drug that is now off the market, as well as adding rice ceral to his diet to weight the milk. I nursed him, so I had to try to get the little guy (we started this process at 6 weeks old because he ended up being hospitalized for this) to swallow the cereal early on...that was difficult. The prilosec didn't work for him and after awhile, they ended up having to put him on prevacid (I had to take the tablet apart and count beads and add to the cereal!) I would definitely try and stick with giving the cereal...their demand for milk decreases some as they are getting older but the rice has some nutrients as well. None of this hindered my son's growth at all (he was always 90+ percentile). With the e-mycin...that side effect happens with my kids all the time. I am actually allergic to it. I would keep watch of that, because you don't want him dehydrated. If he is doing well on the prilosec with the rice cereal, then I personally would just stick with that routine. My son still has reflux (it runs in the family). My daughter had it early on and was under the care of GI specialists in Fairfax VA and did outgrow it. Hope this helped...feel free to email me if I can help any further. ([email protected]____.com)

C.
Mom to a 12 year old son and 4 year old daughter.

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S.D.

answers from Lynchburg on

Hi S., we had to do all that with our second son who was a premie. That was 14 years ago and by the time he was a year old, his issues resolved. He also had reflux where his bladder wouldn't empty but the urine would go back up into his kidneys--it is hereditary but my brother lost his one and only kidney and had to have a transplant at 18 because they didn't catch it. Sam was on amoxicillian in a low dose for a year to and that resolved as well. Feel free to email me if you want to know more of the details.

S.

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A.S.

answers from Washington DC on

My son had reflux as well as an infant... and I know exactly how you feel about having to give your infant meds... it sucks! The good news is is that most kids out grow it by the time they are 1. I'm a little surprised to see that you're little one is on two meds. Our guy was put on Prevacid twice a day and that was that. Prevacid reduces the acid in the stomach, as well as makes sure it does not come into the esophagus. I'm not sure why they are forcing his little tummy to empty faster because if they have him on the right meds to keep the acid down, it shouldn't matter how fast it empties. If you aren't comfortable with the meds, I would talk to your doc. As for formula and rice, we did those as well. We used Enfamil gentleease formula, and then used the gerber whole grain rice in the bottle. We used 1 teaspoon per ounce of liquid with our guy, and then just got the next size up nipple for the bottle because it was a little thicker and needed a bigger opening. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me. We went through the ringer with him trying all sorts of stuff. We also just recently discovered that he does in fact still have reflux (after he'd been off his meds for 9 months) so he's on meds again and is finally gaining some weight. It will get better :)

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J.K.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi S.

We tried all the meds too. I didn't like erythromicin. It gives kids pretty bad cramps trying to push the food through.
I had two babies with reflux that are now preschoolers with reflux.
I highly suggest you join the http://www.reflux.org

You can join the infant reflux forum and read all about other moms in your situation and what they did.

TAKE LOTS OF NOTES! LOTS! what meds, how much, his weight- bowel movements, crying at night, how often, arching back, etc..... the more notes the better!!!
For us, we ended up on Axid to protect the esophagus (a gentle drug) and prevacid. They worked well together for us.
You can contact me directly - i have volumes of notes I took on this stuff. But the site i sent you is amazing and helpful and the women there are all really ready to commiserate with you!

TAKE LOTS OF NOTES! meds, how much, weight, times of crying, feedings, bowel movements, moodiness, etc.

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M.B.

answers from Washington DC on

I would try going to a chiropractor. I may be biased as I am one, but I've seen it work for little kids. I treat my little girl who occasionally has constipation and it always quickly helps her. I would recommend the following website to find a chiropractor who is specially trained to see infants and kids. wwww.icpa4kids.org You can look up one close to you. I personally also go see Dr. Marina Alterman in Bethesda who also checks my little girl (and treats me too). Good luck.

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S.B.

answers from Washington DC on

I know you have received a lot of responses but I just thought I would share that my son was put on a combo dose of two medicines (can't remember their names) and I felt the same way about giving such a small baby medicine. In my case it helped a little. Eventually I went to a chiropractor because my neck was killing me because I was constantly holding him for naptime (the only way he would sleep). She asked to see him and very gently worked on some pressure points with just her fingers. After two or three visits I noticed a remarkable improvement and weaned him off the drugs and he did fine. I even tried weaning him off before I actually took him in and the crying and sleeplessness worsened. Just a suggestion. My chiro told me she has helped babies with everything from colic to reflux to other problems.

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R.C.

answers from Washington DC on

There is hope! But, some study is required. Healing through nutritional is possible. See the blood type dietary recommendations and the list of other potential culprits that might be beneath your awareness at www.greenrita.com

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K.L.

answers from Washington DC on

My son had severe acid reflux. At 10 wks old his weight was 1 lb lower than it was at birth. We had tried erythromiacin...didn't work. We had tried different dosages of zantac...didn't work. After taking him to the ER for dehydration and having loads of tests done on my poor baby, here's what we were instructed to do.

1) I had to stop breastfeeding because we needed to track caloric intake and that wasn't possible with breastmilk.
2) He was put on prevacid.
3) Mix 1 tbsp of rice cereal to every 1 oz of formula (yes it was thick and we had to buy faster flow nipples)
4) After a feeding, keep him upright either holding him or in a bouncy seat for 30-40 mins. Do NOT put him in the car seat within 30 mins of feeding (because it actually curls the body up and makes it harder for the stomach to empty)

Of course, the reflux didn't completely go away, but he did start vomitting less and did start putting on weight. The reflux got even better once we started with cereal and food on the spoon, but it was still there.

Once my son was 6 months old I started giving him yogurt for breakfast every day (yes, I know they say 9 months, but I started it early) and it made a HUGE difference. I told the pediatrician and the GI drs (we had 3 GI drs monitoring him) and they told me that yogurt is wonderful for treating acid reflux because of the probiotics in it. Honestly, if I had known, I would have started yogurt sooner!!

My son is now 15 months and doesn't have regular episodes of reflux anymore, but he does occasionally have "flare ups" of it, mostly triggered by illnesses. For example, he had a stomach bug almost 2 weeks ago, but just yesterday was playing, climbed onto my lap, puked and then went back to playing like nothing happened. It happens occasionally and I just figure (and the pediatrician agrees) its just some acid reflux lingering that may never fully go away.

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J.B.

answers from Richmond on

My daughter had reflux from the time she came home from the hospital, to age 1. It was really bad, projectile vomiting. She had to go in for weight checks because she wasn't keeping anything down. Even medicine didnt help her. As she got older it became less severe. What worked for us is the cereal, it helped it stay down. Also is he sleeping on his back, because if so you might want to put him on his stomach as a safety concern. Also, Dr Brown's bottles help some children, but it didnt help my daughter. Honestly, the best thing is the cereal.

Good Luck!

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L.M.

answers from Washington DC on

S.,

My 18 mo old had severe reflux from 3 mo to 11 mo. He was on the prilosec too, but not erythromycin. Instead, he took Reglan (not an antibotic, it is specific for helping them digest faster). Everyone I know w/ reflux kids used Reglan, ask your GI doc why not use that? Don't do the cereal in the bottle. I tried that too, it's awful. Just try to get him started eating cereal w/ a spoon. 3 mo isn't too early for the rice cereal in small amounts. Also, my little guy used one of those sleep positioners forever it seemed. Also you could try just letting him sleep in his carseat. Some friends of mine just stuck the car seat in the crib, so he's used to his crib and room, but propped upright to sleep better.

good luck,
Mom of 2 in Reston Va
L.

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L.E.

answers from Washington DC on

I highly recommend trying homeopathic medicine. Our youngest daughter had horrible acid reflux, and we used Alimentum, rice cereal in her formula as well as Prevacid. Although it helped, it didn't go away and she had other issues (such as not gaining weight/growing/utilizing nutrients in her food and being failure to thrive.)

After consulting with a homeopathic doctor our daughter started gaining weight, acid reflux disappeared, etc.

We see, and recommend, Dr. Margaret Gennaro in Fairfax, VA. She's an MD/Pediatrician as well as a homeopath and her website is www.neckbackandbeyond.com. There is a several month wait for a new appt, but Dr. Gennaro worked really well for us and I highly recommend her.

Good luck -- feel free to email me directly if you have any specific questions - L.
wife and mother of 2 girls (9 and 3)

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