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Infant Gaviscon shortage forces frustrated GPs to change reflux treatment

Infant Gaviscon shortage forces frustrated GPs to change reflux treatment

A global shortage of infant Gaviscon is causing frustration among GPs, who are having to completely change treatment for babies with reflux.

The powder sachets for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in infants under the age of two years are in short supply because of a shortage of the key active ingredient called medical grade sodium alginate.

It follows reports of global shortages of Gaviscon, including adult products, after low harvest yields of a specific seaweed that is used to create sodium alginate used in the product.

But GPs reporting problems on social media noted that there is a lack of alternatives for babies when Gaviscon Infant is not available.

Dr Ben Allen, a GP in Sheffield, tweeted it was ‘shocking to have a baby come off a medication that is working because of a supply issue’.

‘Gaviscon Infant has no alternative. So, if out of stock, you need to switch to an entirely different medication. A thickener or PPI. It makes 100,000’s of babies vulnerable to one company,’ he said.

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One local pharmacy said it had now come back in but it follows reports of shortages for a wide range of medicines including HRT, antihistamines, and treatments for osteoporosis.

Just last week GPs were advised to start no new prescriptions for two key injectable GLP-1 agonists in patients with diabetes due to a global shortage.

One practice clinical pharmacist working at a GP surgery in Devon said medicines supply issues were a nightmare at the moment including recent issues with getting hold of a form of insulin.

A spokesperson for Reckitt, the manufacturer of Gaviscon said: ‘The limited availability of Gaviscon Infant is primarily due to a shortage of medical grade sodium alginate, the key ingredient in Gaviscon.

‘We are aware of the trust our consumers and healthcare professionals have in our products and we are doing all that we can to minimise disruption to supply including working diligently with our supply partners to resolve these issues and obtain as much production as possible.’


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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 14 October, 2022 10:35 pm

First world problems, sigh.