Prevacid for Babies
It is generally considered safe to use prescription Prevacid® (lansoprazole) in babies as young as one year old for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and erosive esophagitis. This medication is also approved to treat these conditions in children and adolescents. Nonprescription Prevacid 24HR is approved only for use in adults.
GERD is a condition in which stomach acids and other contents of the stomach go back into the esophagus. This can result in GERD symptoms, including the most common symptom of GERD -- heartburn. One of the complications of GERD is erosive esophagitis, which occurs when the lining of the esophagus becomes damaged by stomach acid.
Prevacid is used for treatment of GERD symptoms, including heartburn. It has also been licensed to treat erosive esophagitis. Once the esophagus has healed, Prevacid may also be used to prevent the return of erosive esophagitis.
When using Prevacid for babies, children, or adolescents, it is important to first talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using this medication.
Despite the widespread use of Prevacid to treat infant GERD, research suggests that Prevacid is not effective for use in babies under one year of age. One study evaluated Prevacid for babies age one month up to one year of age. The babies that were given Prevacid were just as fussy and irritable after feedings, compared to babies that were given a placebo (which had no active ingredient).
It is possible that this study failed to show that Prevacid was effective because the babies were diagnosed with GERD based on the symptoms of crying, fussiness, or irritability associated with feedings (instead of more objective but more invasive ways to diagnose the condition). It is possible that in the study (just like in "real life"), many of the babies diagnosed with GERD actually did not have the medical condition and therefore were not helped by Prevacid.
(For more information on using Prevacid for babies, click What Is Prevacid Used For? This article takes a closer look at how Prevacid can help relieve the symptoms of several conditions related to the stomach, intestines, and esophagus.)