The approval of Propulsid by the FDA had been only for adult use. A study of approximately 58,000 premature babies showed that about 20 percent of mothers had been given Propulsid. Presently, approximately 11 infant deaths have been associated with Propulsid use. Many doctors used Propulsid to treat babies with heartburn-causing ”gastroesophageal reflux.” This reflux occurs when stomach acid backs up in the esophagus. Adults call that burning feeling heartburn. Babies react by vomiting. Nearly all babies do that and it is a normal occurrence because the esophagus and stomach are immature at infancy. Ninety-five percent of babies will outgrow the problem by their first birthday, and many are not treated for the condition. However, when the reflux is bad enough that babies become malnourished and don’t gain weight, have trouble breathing while vomiting, or the esophageal irritation causes obvious pain, they are treated.
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