A global shortage of infant Gaviscon is causing frustration among pharmacists and 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.

The shortage comes amid widespread supply issues. One practice 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. 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.

The Gaviscon Infant shortage leaves thousands of babies with no alternative, said one GP on Twitter.

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.

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

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.’

A version of this article first appeared on our sister publication Pulse.