Why Is Gripe Water Banned?

Reviewed on 12/2/2020
Gripe water is a herbal medication available in the liquid form.

Gripe water is a herbal medication available in liquid form.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned gripe water due to the following reasons:

  • Some formulations of gripe water consist of alcohol. Alcohol, as high as 9%, can cause developmental problems in babies.
  • The U.S. FDA does not consider gripe water safe for children.
  • Wheat or dairy products in gripe water can upset the baby’s stomach
  • Some formulations of gripe water consist of sucrose, which yet again can prove to be unsafe for children. The high sugar content in the gripe water can harm the erupting teeth.
  • Gripe water may also contain gluten, dairy, parabens, and vegetable carbon, which can induce allergy in the children.
  • It could potentially worsen a baby’s reflux symptoms.
  • It is unfit to be given to babies younger than one month.
  • Sodium bicarbonate present in the gripe water doesn’t have a specific role in treating colic. Long-term use of sodium bicarbonate may increase blood alkalinity or pH
  • FDA confirmed the presence of cryptosporidium (a parasite) in one of the formulations of gripe water.

What is gripe water?

Gripe water is a herbal medication available in liquid form. It has been effective in treating colic in children. The main components of gripe water include:

When choosing gripe water, parents should check the label and avoid the product if it contains

  • Gluten
  • Dairy products
  • Alcohol
  • Sucrose

Colic is defined as excessive crying for more than three hours a day at least three days a week for three weeks or more in an otherwise healthy baby. One of the possible reasons could be stomach discomfort in children when unable to pass gas. The exact cause of colic is unknown; hence, there is no accepted conventional treatment. Infantile colic is self-limiting because it resolves at about three months of age. 

The herbs in gripe water are known to relieve digestive problems; hence, this formulation was recommended by physicians for the treatment of colic pain.

Gripe water has also been used to treat

Because gripe water is a supplement and not a medication, it doesn’t come under the regulation of the FDA, which means that there is no guarantee for the ingredients mentioned on the label.

What are the side effects of gripe water?

With newer formulations of gripe water, it has been claimed that they are generally safe. However, it is important to monitor for any side effects that include:

Does gripe water work?

There is a lack of evidence about the effectiveness of gripe water for any of its intended purposes. The use of gripe water in infancy is not scientifically backed. Hence, always consult a pediatrician before giving gripe water to the baby.

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References
https://jcdr.net/article_fulltext.asp?issn=0973- 709x&year=2015&volume=9&issue=11&page=SC06&issn=0973-709x&id=6738

https://journals.lww.com/pidj/Fulltext/2004/02000/Pseudomonas_aeruginosa_septic_shock_secondary_to.19.aspx

https://www.poison.org/articles/2011-oct/dont-give-herbal-supplements-to-infants

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw31230

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356971/

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