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Patterns of prescribing in the management of gastro-oesophageal reflux in infants in Scotland.

Cowie, Jean; Holland, Paula; Pirie, Iain; Milligan, Christine


Jean Cowie

Paula Holland

Iain Pirie

Christine Milligan


The aim of this study was to determine trends over time and geographical differences in prescribing for gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) in infants aged 0–1 year in Scotland. National prescribing data obtained from the Information Services Division of NHS Scotland (ISD Scotland) was quantitatively analysed using the software tool Minitab16. Prescribing of the three key medicines, alginate, omeprazole and ranitidine, used in the management of GOR and GORD in infants aged 0–1 year increased in Scotland over the 7 years between 2010 and 2016. The rise in the prescribing rates of alginate, omeprazole and ranitidine is a cause for concern given the uncertainty regarding the efficacy of these medicines in this age group, and that omeprazole and ranitidine are not licensed for use in infants under 1 year of age in the UK. While the data suggest that the prescribing rate of alginate may have stabilised, the increasing trends for omeprazole and ranitidine show no sign of abating and this may have financial implications for the NHS, as well as potential ethical and health implications for young infants.


COWIE, J., HOLLAND, P., PIRIE, I. and MILLIGAN, C. 2018. Patterns of prescribing in the management of gastro-oesophageal reflux in infants in Scotland. Journal of health visiting [online], 6(9), pages 440-446. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 18, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 18, 2018
Publication Date Sep 30, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 29, 2018
Publicly Available Date Mar 19, 2019
Journal Journal of health visiting
Print ISSN 2050-8719
Electronic ISSN 2052-2908
Publisher Mark Allen Healthcare
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 9
Pages 440-446
Keywords Regurgitation; Reflux; Gaviscon; Ranitidine; Omeprazole
Public URL


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