H2 Blockers and Infant Acid Reflux

H2 blockers and your baby's acid reflux. How they help and why they seem to stop working.

  • Famotidine (Pepcid AC, Pepcid Oral)
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet, Tagamet HB)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac, Zantac 75, Zantac Efferdose, Zantac injection, and Zantac Syrup)
  • Nizatidine Capsules (Axid AR, Axid Capsules, Nizatidine Capsules)

Although the use of an H2 Blocker is GREAT for sporadic or mild reflux, they may not be the best choice for moderate, severe and/or constant reflux symptoms because the human body will build a tolerance to H2 blockers. You will likely notice depleting effectiveness in about 7 to 14 days. This is called tachyphylaxis (or tolerance). Here's information about that study

So even if the H2 blocker provides some relief initially, your baby might rapidly develop tolerance and becomes it ineffective. It's important to know that increasing the dose of the blocker will not help. Also, histamine 2 blockers contain alcohol which is a mucosal irritant and may cause frequent diarrhea.

They work by blocking the messengers that tell the stomach to begin production of acid. These signals are delivered by the messenger hormones called histamine (type 2). Histamine communicates with the cell by attaching to contact points located on the cell surface called receptors. H2 Blockers work by occupying the receptors so that histamine cannot bind and communicate to the acid producing cell and therefore it can not produce acid.

More information about H2 Blockers

  • Sucralfate: Because sucralfate requires to be converted to its active form. By neutralizing acid in the stomach, the blockers inhibit this conversion. If sulcralfate is not converted to its active state, it will not adhere to and protect damaged areas.
  • Optional treatment. The use of Proton Pump Inhibitors could be an option if you choose to treat your baby with medications. We find that PPI therapy is very effective if the right dose is given.

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