Dr. Shakhnovich offers guidelines for prescribing GERD medications to obese kids

 

Dr. Valentina Shakhnovich, Children’s Mercy

When treating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in obese kids, the common practice of dosing stomach acid blockers based on children’s weight could actually cause more harm than good, said Dr. Valentina Shakhnovich, investigator for the Pediatric Trials Network (PTN) and Associate Program Director for the Gastroenterology Fellowship Research Program at Children’s Mercy Hospitals in Kansas City, Missouri. Shakhnovich shared her research on The Children’s Mercy’s Transformational Pediatrics podcast.

Listen to the podcast here.

GERD, commonly called acid reflux, is a long-term condition in which stomach acid comes back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn, indigestion, and tissue damage. Because the occurrence of GERD is associated with excess weight gain, pediatricians are seeing more cases, as the number of overweight and obese children increases.

Pantoprazole belongs to a class of drugs known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), which have long been used to treat GERD and other conditions related to excess stomach acid. Pediatricians typically dose pantoprazole based on a child’s weight. However, this common practice can actually put bigger kids at risk for unwanted long-term side effects, associated with higher doses of PPIs, such as low bone density and vitamin deficiencies.

“A lot of us have the knee-jerk reaction that if we see a 10-year-old who’s twice the size of an average 10-year-old, maybe we should double the dose,” Dr. Shakhnovich said. “What our research has shown is that’s actually not the best thing to do for obese kids, and it appears that they actually require a lower dose of proton-pump inhibitors than their non-obese counterparts.”

Dr. Shakhnovich suggested including a statement on the pantoprazole label, warning pediatricians not to give more of the drug to overweight and obese children. “Until clear dosing guidelines come from the FDA, think twice before dose escalating just because a child is obese,” she said.

She commended PTN for its awareness of the problem and for leading the way in finding the safest and most effective dose of commonly used medications for overweight and obese children.

“One in 6 children is obese. One in 3 is overweight,” Dr. Shakhnovich said. “It’s essential to start including obese patients in clinical trials so we’re not trying to guess at the correct dose and we’re not trying to play catch-up.”

PTN Pantoprazole Study Closes Enrollment

Congratulations to the PTN Pantoprazole Study Team for closing enrollment with 41 subjects. The study goal was to enroll 40 subjects in two age groups. The dedicated team worked hard to keep the study on track and accomplish this goal.

The Pantoprazole Study will evaluate the pharmacokinetics of pantoprazole in obese children and adolescents with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) following administration of an oral dose of pantoprazole.

The PTN pantoprazole study enrolls its first patient

The PTN study of the effect of obesity on the pharmacokinetics of pantoprazole in children and adolescents has enrolled its first patient. The study team at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (PI Laura James, MD, SC Lee Howard, RN) did the honors.

Obese children are more frequently diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) than children of normal weight. Proton pump inhibitors, such as pantoprazole, have become key components in the pharmacological management of GERD in pediatrics. In this multicenter, open-label, single-dose study of pantoprazole, the PTN is examining the pharmacokinetics of the drug in obese children who require treatment with an acid-modifying agent. The data collected will be compared to existing pharmacokinetic data in non-obese subjects.

The study population includes obese male and female children and adolescents, ranging in age from 6–17 years (inclusive) with the diagnosis of GERD. Approximately 40 participants will be enrolled at up to 3 sites. To learn more about this study, visit clinicaltrials.gov.