When it was discovered that some patients taking a certain heartburn drug were experiencing problems with their heartbeat, warnings appeared in newspapers recommending that patients undergo an EKG first. Anxious parents began calling health officials to ask if this warning also applies to their babies. Unfortunately, officials do not quite know how to respond, since the drug (propulsid) is only approved for use in adults and precious little research has been done on its effect on children.
However, it is known that of the 70 people that the FDA knows died from the drug, 11 were children. It is thought that as many as 20 percent of premature infants are on the drug. In Canada, the drug is not permitted to be used to treat premature babies.
Dr. James Lemons, Indiana University Medical Center, quoted by
Associated Press, February 8, 2000.