Zantac for Babies – When To Give, Safety and Risks!
The thought of using Zantac for babies may be abhorrent to some new mothers. After all, medications are not usually well received by moms who are concerned about the safety of such things and the effects that they may have on their new bundles of joy. But, in a article on Boston Children’s Hospital website responses provided by Dr. Samuel Nurko, MD, MPH, where he explains that the use of medications like Zantac can be quite safe in infants and lead to symptom relief.
Essentially, acid reflux in infants is quite common; although it typically subsides by the time they reach one and a half years of age. Babies experiencing gastroesophageal reflux may display characteristic symptoms such as hiccups, vomiting, spitting up, stomach bloating, irritability, sudden crying and a refusal to eat. In some cases, these symptoms can be mistaken for colic or indigestion, and a pediatrician is often consulted to determine the cause if ongoing or recurrent. Zantac for babies may display its first demonstration for usefulness in this case, as it can be used as a diagnostic tool to see what is causing the symptoms. If some relief is afforded the infant after using a medication like Zantac, than it’s likely that gastroesophageal reflux is the underlying cause.
The active ingredient in Zantac is ranitidine, which is a histamine h2-receptor antagonist. Wikipedia accounts that it works by restraining the production of acid in the stomach. Because acid reflux refers to the flow backward and upward of the contents of the stomach, limiting the amount of acid that comes along with it can minimize discomfort. Ranitidine based medications like Zantac help because they can significantly reduce the amount of acid in the stomach, which in turn reduces the amount that comes up along with this wrong direction stomach substance flow. For infants encountering the uncomfortable symptoms caused from this wrong way traveling acid, Zantac for babies can be a viable solution.
Zantac dosage is not exactly one size fits all. WebMD points out that typical dosage in adults for the medication is normally 300 mg each day either taken in one dose or two separate 150mg doses. In children however, dosages are nowhere near as clear cut. And this is one reason why relying on a health care provider for proper and safe use of Zantac for babies is so important, because their dosage is normally based on body weight. Additionally, the active ingredient in Zantac, ranitidine, does pass through breast milk like many medications. This can also lend some confusion to proper dosing and add additional risks should breast feeding mommy also be using Zantac or similar products. Actively working with a health care provider to ensure proper dosages is essential for these reasons.
Zantac side effects in infants are normally mild, and Dr. Samuel Nurko, MPH continues in his article noting that while considered very safe, side effects are common. Typically, these include diarrhea, abdominal pain and constipation. But, there are some rarer side effects when using Zantac for babies that have occurred. These include problems with liver inflammation and reduced blood counts. For those turned off by the potential side effect risks of the medication, there are non medicinal approaches that can be considered in the alternative or, in conjunction with medicinal therapy.
Acid reflux treatment for infants can also include some dietary and lifestyle changes to help relieve symptoms. For instance, holding the baby in an upright position both during and after feeding can help to minimize symptoms. And, it has been suggested that thicker formula can also prevent acid from reaching as high in the esophagus. Thickening formula with rice cereal is one method for achieving this. Additional treatment remedies include keeping meals smaller and simply increasing the frequency of feedings. These can all be attempted prior to considering Zantac for babies, or as supplement to help to contribute to symptom relief.
Essentially, it can be difficult for a new mom to accept the fact that a medication that has known although mild side effects is necessary to treat their child’s acid reflux. However, it’s important to remember that medications are prescribed by health care professionals when the benefits of doing so outweigh the risks associated with same. Therefore, counseling with a pediatrician or health care provider to become as informed as possible about the uses, risks and safety concerns associated with using Zantac for babies is the best way to determine whether or not the medication is ideal.