The Journey of Having a Child with GERD


Meredith Hemler


Kristie Johnson, AstraZeneca Employee

My husband Ben and I have worked at AstraZeneca for 11 years and have a personal story that makes us grateful to work for the maker of the Purple Pill. Our son Cash spent his first months crying with what was initially diagnosed as colic. It’s not what we expected as new parents, to say the least.

On September 7, 2012, our beautiful baby boy, Cash, was born. At the time, there were no other children in our extended family so Cash was our parents’ first grandchild, our pride and joy. The first night we brought him home, we could not have been more excited. Our feelings turned to fear during the first week when Cash was constantly screaming, arching his back and wiggling, especially after feeding. His face was red and sweaty, and his fists were always balled up in discomfort. We felt helpless as we constantly rocked him and drove him around, doing anything and everything we could think of to soothe him. We sought answers by making an appointment with his pediatrician. The pediatrician diagnosed Cash with colic and told us it would last about six months.

The best way to describe the next year of our lives would be as house arrest; getting a full night of sleep and leaving the house with Cash were both out of the question. Our parents were too nervous to watch Cash because they felt helpless trying to calm him. Due to Ben’s family history of gastrointestinal problems and because of our work in the pharmaceutical industry, we refused to believe that Cash’s behavior and condition was normal. About two months into this journey, we decided to switch pediatricians. Our new pediatrician suggested a medication, but after it did not resolve the issues, he referred us to a pediatric gastroenterologist (GI).

We were able to secure an appointment with a GI when Cash was one year old. During our visit, Cash was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), more commonly known as acid reflux. The GI prescribed NEXIUM® (esomeprazole magnesium) Packets for Delayed-Release Oral Suspension, which is FDA-approved for use in children as young as one month old with complications of GERD. Within two days of Cash taking NEXIUM Packets, we saw dramatic changes. Cash stopped screaming and arching his back. He finally seemed comfortable. Thankfully for Cash, Ben and me, sleep came easily at last. Now nearing his third birthday, Cash is a happy, healthy young boy who no longer shows symptoms of GERD.

We are proud AstraZeneca employees and thankful parents. We feel strongly that all parents and caregivers should be aware of the signs and symptoms of GERD so that they’ll know when it might be time to consult their pediatrician or a specialist. We’re glad we were able to get the help our son needed with an accurate diagnosis and treatment for his symptoms.

About GERD

It is important to recognize that GERD is different than colic, or a “happy spitter.” While infants with colic may suffer from frequent bouts of crying, GERD is not a common cause of unexplained crying, irritability or distressed behavior. “Happy spitters” are also healthy-appearing with normal growth, but have painless regurgitation and do not show other infant-specific GERD warning signs. “Happy spitters” tend to grow out of recurrent regurgitation after 12 to 18 months. If you suspect symptoms of GERD in your child, make an appointment with your pediatrician for a diagnosis and to learn more about what treatment options are available.

Important Safety Information About NEXIUM® (esomeprazole magnesium) Packets

  • Symptom relief does not rule out the presence of other serious stomach conditions your child may have
  • NEXIUM may increase your child’s risk of getting severe diarrhea. Call your doctor right away if your child has watery stool, stomach pain and fever that does not go away
  • Talk to your doctor about your child’s risk for:
    • Bone fractures if your child takes multiple daily doses of NEXIUM for a long period of time
    • Low vitamin B12 if your child has been on NEXIUM for a long time (more than 3 years)
    • Low magnesium levels if your child takes NEXIUM for a long period of time
  • Tell your doctor about all the medicines your child takes, prescription and nonprescription drugs, including clopidogrel, vitamins and herbal supplements. NEXIUM may affect how other medicines work and other medicines may affect how NEXIUM works
  • In children 1 to 17 years of age, side effects with NEXIUM include headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and sleepiness
  • In infants aged 1 month to less than 1 year old, side effects with NEXIUM include abdominal pain, regurgitation, rapid breathing and abnormal liver blood tests

Approved Uses

NEXIUM is prescribed to treat the symptoms of acid reflux disease, which typically include persistent heartburn on 2 or more days per week, despite treatment and change of diet in patients 1 year of age and older.

For patients as young as 1 month of age, NEXIUM is also prescribed to heal damage to the esophagus called erosive esophagitis. This damage may be caused over time from stomach acid wearing away the lining of the esophagus. Only a doctor can diagnose this condition. With NEXIUM, most erosions heal in 4 to 8 weeks. Results with NEXIUM may vary.

Please see Prescribing Information.

Please see Medication Guide.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA by visiting or calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

This product information is intended for US consumers only.

3129512    Last Updated 7/15