Writing in their report, published in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers said that GERD is being overdiagnosed and overtreated in infants. GERD is a condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus and the babies are often treated with acid-suppressing drugs, known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). According to a report, the use of PPIs in infants under one year of age has increased by seven times between 1999 and 2004.
"Over-diagnosis of GERD can make a medical condition out of a normal behavior. When a set of behaviors is labeled a 'disease,' this can make parents think that medication is appropriate for their child, regardless of whether the drugs are effective or not. Doctors may feel the need to give parents a name for their child's problem, but by doing so they can inadvertently increase parents' perceived need for medical treatment. Parents should follow doctors' advice, which sometimes means accepting a doctor's explanation of why medications are not needed", Professor Laura Scherer, from MU psychological sciences, said.