Managing gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in children

Digestion. 2004:69 Suppl 1:3-8. doi: 10.1159/000076370.


Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) have a higher prevalence among infants than among children or adults. This is linked to the immaturity of the oesophagus and stomach and the higher liquid intake of infants. Genetic factors could also be contributory in some families. Clinical symptoms in infants are mainly regurgitation and vomiting, which usually disappear between 1 and 3 years of age. Symptoms in children are similar to those in adults. Treatment in children depends on age and GORD severity. With GOR or mild GORD, particularly in infants, explanation and reassurance together with thickening of formula feed and lifestyle changes are usually effective. Prokinetics either have unproven efficacy (metoclopramide, domperidone) or have been withdrawn (cisapride). Chronic antacid therapy is not recommended. In moderate to severe GORD, histamine-2-receptor antagonists and particularly proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are effective, especially when oesophagitis is present. PPIs, in particular omeprazole and lansoprazole, have proven efficacy in infants and children. They are well tolerated, with pharmacokinetics similar to those in adults. However, dosages should be adapted in neonates and children under 10 years old. Fundoplication should be avoided before 2 to 3 years of age if possible.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 2-Pyridinylmethylsulfinylbenzimidazoles
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / drug therapy*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lansoprazole
  • Omeprazole / analogs & derivatives*
  • Omeprazole / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • 2-Pyridinylmethylsulfinylbenzimidazoles
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents
  • Lansoprazole
  • Omeprazole