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Posted on 04 Mar 2021
Patient experience and outcomes

Safer Care Victoria, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) have partnered in a project to reduce unnecessary prescribing of acid suppression therapy (AST) for infant reflux.

We are excited to share new resources to support parents and clinicians in caring for infants with gastro-oesophageal reflux, irritability, or unexplainable crying.

Gastro-oesophageal reflux is common in infants, affecting up to 40% of infants. It is often misdiagnosed and treated unnecessarily with acid suppression therapy.

AST has been shown to have no benefit for infants with gastro-oesophageal reflux or unsettled behaviours and can increase the risk of gastroenteritis, community-acquired pneumonia, Clostridium Difficile infection, fractures and micronutrient deficiencies in infants.

Resources were developed and piloted in three hospitals to:

  • improve knowledge of gastro-oesophageal reflux and unsettled behaviours in infants
  • improve awareness and knowledge of the potential harms of ASTs in infants
  • provide guidance on how to cease unnecessary ASTs
  • provide practical strategies on how to manage an unsettled infant
  • provide information for GPs

Click here to download the resources:

These align with the current state-wide clinical practice guidelines for Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in infants and Unsettled or crying babies.

As a result of the pilot, we saw:

  • 21 per cent reduction in AST prescribing in infants
  • 46 per cent increase in clinicians advising parents to cease ASTs in infants
  • 19 per cent increase in parents recognising that ASTs can cause harm in infants

Find out more about the Reducing unnecessary prescribing in infant reflux project.

Contact paediatric.clinicalnetwork@safercare.vic.gov.au for any queries.

Page last updated: 04 Mar 2021