Clinical inquiries. What is the best treatment for gastroesophageal reflux and vomiting in infants?

J Fam Pract. 2005 Apr;54(4):372-5.


The literature on pediatric reflux can be divided into studies addressing clinically apparent reflux (vomiting or regurgitation) and reflux as measured by pH probe or other methods. Sodium alginate reduces vomiting and improves parents' assessment of symptoms (strength of recommendation [SOR]: B, small randomized controlled trial [RCT]). Formula thickened with rice cereal decreases the number of postprandial emesis episodes in infants with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (SOR: B, small RCT). There are conflicting data on the effect of carob bean gum as a formula thickener and its effect on regurgitation frequency (SOR: B, small RCTs). Metoclopramide does not affect vomiting or regurgitation, but is associated with greater weight gain in infants over 3 months with reflux (SOR: B, low-quality RCTs). Carob bean gum used as a formula thickener decreases reflux as measured by intraluminal impedance but not as measured by pH probe (SOR: B, RCT). Omeprazole and metoclopramide each improve the reflux index as measured by esophageal pH probe (SOR: B, RCT). Evidence is conflicting for other commonly used conservative measures (such as positional changes) or other medications for symptomatic relief of infant GERD. There is very limited evidence or expert opinion regarding breastfed infants, particularly with regard to preservation of breastfeeding during therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antiemetics / therapeutic use
  • Feeding Methods
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula
  • Posture
  • Vomiting / therapy*


  • Anti-Ulcer Agents
  • Antiemetics