When babies cry endlessly and spit up, doctors and parents used to call it colic. In past decades there wasn’t much to be done about it except wait for the infant to grow out of it. Nowadays, however, many babies are prescribed power acid-suppressing drugs called proton pump inhibitors or PPIs for short.
A commentary in the Journal of Pediatrics calls routine prescribing of PPIs to infants into question. For one thing, acid reflux is actually uncommon in babies. For another, PPIs are not very effective for these symptoms in children under one year of age. Routine use of PPIs in babies may put them at risk for lung infections or gastroenteritis. They may also contribute to nutritional deficits, especially vitamin B12, calcium and magnesium. Instead of PPIs, pediatricians are urged to try non-drug approaches to help parents handle old-fashioned colic.
[Journal of Pediatrics, Oct. 29, 2011]