Children are being over-prescribed antacids


Prescriptions of antacids, inhibitors of proton pumps and H2 histamine receptor antagonists are up, including in children.

There are many valid indications for prescribing antacids in children, from acid reflux to vomiting with respiratory issues, as well as weight loss or difficulties gaining weight. Yet these drugs are often prescribed for no good reason. The most common motives given for these prescriptions are more likely to be unexplained fears, irritability, refusal to eat, or even frequent regurgitation.

Researchers and paediatricians at the paediatric clinic in Melbourne have conducted a prospective study and drawn the conclusion that ¾ of spending linked to antacids is unjustified. These prescriptions respond to no real defined indications, and were, in fact, more common than valid prescriptions.

For emergency department use, 62% of prescriptions were unjustified, while this rate was 83% for hospital prescriptions and 75% for those made out following doctor consultations. We can therefore conclude that non-indicated prescriptions are common in hospitals, particularly when involving intubation (i.e., orogastric tube).