Over the last few months I have seen increasing numbers of children being denied Omeprazole for the treatment of their reflux. These babies are distressed, vomiting, regurgitating, not sleeping and their parents are distraught.
Omeprazole is a very effective medication for reducing the stomach acid, which causes most of the pain in GORD (Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease). GORD is a serious and common disease. It needs active treatment.
Unfortunately for the babies and parents, there has been a backlash about prescribing this medication. Yes, it has certainly been over prescribed previously, but this does not mean that it should now be a banned substance. It seems to me that the current medical mood is to not treat anybody with reflux at all. Surely this must be an over-reaction.
Yes, to me this seems to be an exaggerated response to a problem of over-prescription of this medication. Omeprazole is a crucial medication to effectively reduce stomach acid – this gives huge relief to babies and children who are in pain from acid reflux, and also much needed relief for the parents who are dealing with children in chronic pain.
Everyday in our ‘Childrens Clinic’, we see distressed parents with upset children, telling me that they were not allowed to have their child on Omeprazole. I think this is wrong. If these children need this medication then it should be prescribed – of course, in the smallest dose that works, and for the shortest time it is needed.
Yes, it is important to ensure that this is the appropriate medication for the child. It has to be carefully prescribed and monitored. Last week, one parent was told by a medial specialist “It doesn’t matter your baby is suffering pain because babies don’t remember the pain.” She was also told to “harden up” and get used to it.
I am horrified to hear this – I think this is atrocious advice. I don’t think children should unnecessarily suffer pain. If they have severe reflux pain then I think it needs to be treated … and the most effective medication is Omeprazole. ( read more on this link about omeprazole)