Is Zantac (Ranitidine) Safe For Babies?

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Excess production of acid in the stomach and heartburn is a universal problem in all age groups, so it does not spare even infants. There are several medications to address this problem and ranitidine sold under the brand name known as Zantac. 

In this article:

What is Zantac?
Can A Baby Have Zantac?
What Is The Right Age to Give Zantac?
What is Zantac Used for in Babies?
What Is The Dosage of Zantac for Babies?
How Long Does It Take for Zantac to Work in Babies?
Are There Side Effects of Zantac on Babies?
What If My Baby on Zantac Still Spits Up?
Frequently Asked Question About Zantac for Babies

What is Zantac?

Zantac is the brand name for the generic antacid compound called Ranitidine. It is a type of histamine-2 (H2) blocker and is particularly used to suppress the stomach cells from producing excess acids and thus prevent heartburn. 

Can A Baby Have Zantac?

Yes, babies can have Zantac (ranitidine) but only on a doctor’s prescription. Never give Zantac to babies and toddlers unless advised by a doctor. When administered in the right dosages, it can be effective and not have any side effects.

What Is The Right Age to Give Zantac?

Zantac is usually prescribed to babies of at least a month old. A doctor will explore non-pharmacological treatment, change in maternal diet and other safer medical alternatives when the baby is less than a month old.

zantac for babies

What is Zantac Used for in Babies?

Zantac is prescribed to treat the following conditions in babies – 

  • Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux – in this condition, the lower esophageal sphincter present at the junction of the esophagus and stomach does not shut completely and allows some stomach acid to flow upwards towards the mouth. Zantac subdues the secretion of stomach acid thus providing relief from acid reflux. 
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – when acid reflux becomes chronic it is known as GERD. Zantac helps in providing relief from GERD by preventing excess acid accumulation in the stomach. 
  • Esophagitis – it is the inflammation of the inner lining of the esophagus caused due to several reasons including GERD. Zantac is found to be effective in the treatment of this condition as well. 

What Is The Dosage of Zantac for Babies?

Usually, the dosage is about 1-2 mg of Zantac per kg of the baby’s weight is the prescribed single dosage. Not more than two to three such doses to be given in a day. For example, if the baby weighs about 10 kg, the dose will be 20 mg (2mg x 10kg) of Zantac per dose which amounts to about 60 mg of Zantac in a day, in three doses. 

The maximum dosage of Zantac for babies is at about 100 mg per day or as prescribed by the doctor. It is often prescribed for two weeks. Make sure the dosage and duration can vary due to several factors such as the age of the baby and the severity of the condition. The doctor will also give the best time for the medicine (full stomach or empty stomach) and if the medicine can be combined with other medication (like gas drops or antacid). 

Zantac is found to be available in the form of syrup or effervescence tablet for babies. Syrups are easy to administer to older babies because of slightly sweet taste. Younger babies could be given effervescent tablets that dissolve in water. The water can be administered to the baby through a dropper syringe.

How Long Does It Take for Zantac to Work in Babies?

The time taken for the medicine to work depends on the severity of the baby’s reflux. Usually, a baby should get relief from reflux and GERD within two weeks from the day Zantac was first given. 

Are There Side Effects of Zantac on Babies?

Yes, there are side effects which include – 

  • Headache
  • Fussiness
  • Lethargy and excessive sleepiness 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Nausea 
  • Constipation 

Side effects are not many and usually disappear once the medicine has been discontinued. 

Some long-term side effects of Zantac in babies are – 

  • Repeated stomach infections
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis 
  • Liver function problems 
  • Neuropsychological problems 
  • Cardiovascular problems 

What If My Baby on Zantac Still Spits Up?

If the baby continues to spit up despite using Zantac then talk to the doctor immediately. This could be an indication of some other underlying condition or infantile diseases such as pyloric stenosis that causes the baby to spit up. Get the baby checked by the doctor in case of chronic spit ups that do not stop even with Zantac. 

Frequently Asked Question About Zantac for Babies

Is Zantac the same as Prilosec and Prevacid? 

Zantac is different from both Prilosec and Prevacid. Prilosec is the brand name used for the generic compound called omeprazole and Prevacid is the brand name used for lansoprazole. Both omeprazole and lansoprazole belong to the compound group called proton-pump inhibitors also used to treat acid reflux while ranitidine is an H2 block and acts differently. 

Does Zantac help with gas in babies?

There is no such evidence or proof that Zantac can provide babies relief from excessive gas. It may help ease the gas caused by acid reflux but it does not treat gas directly and is primarily prescribed for GERD. 

Conclusion

Zantac is less likely to cause serious side-effects that have a long-term effect on babies. Despite that, a doctor will choose Zantac as the last option when nothing seems to ease a baby’s reflux. For proper safety consult the doctor. 

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