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What Is Rabeprazole Sprinkle Used For?

Healthcare providers may prescribe rabeprazole sprinkle for use in children ages 1 to 11 years old who have symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease. As a proton pump inhibitor, this drug works to decrease acid production that contributes to heartburn and other GERD symptoms. There are also times where this drug is prescribed for off-label reasons, such as to treat indigestion or heartburn unrelated to GERD.

An Overview of Uses for Rabeprazole

Rabeprazole sprinkle (Aciphex® Sprinkle™) is a prescription medication that belongs to a group of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). It is approved to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in children who are ages 1 to 11 years old.

Understanding GERD

GERD is a condition that occurs when stomach acid, or occasionally bile, flows backward from the stomach to the esophagus (the food pipe). This occurs because the sphincter muscle between the esophagus and the stomach either opens at the wrong time or is weak and does not completely close off the opening to the stomach. The backward flow of acid into the esophagus is termed "reflux," which is how the condition gets its name (see What Is GERD? for more information).
When stomach acid flows into the esophagus, it irritates the esophagus, leading to the symptoms of GERD. The symptom most people are familiar with is heartburn, or a burning feeling in the chest and throat.
Heartburn is just one symptom of GERD, however. While most people with the condition experience heartburn, not everyone does. In addition, not everyone with heartburn has GERD. Other possible symptoms include:
  • An acidic or sour taste in the mouth
  • Feeling like food is stuck in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry cough
  • A hoarse voice
  • A sore throat.
(Click GERD Symptoms to learn about other possible signs of this condition.)
GERD can also occur in infants and children; however, the signs and symptoms may be different, depending in part on the child's age. Young children with the condition may spit up, vomit, or cough. For older children, symptoms can be similar to those experienced by adults (see GERD in Children).
As mentioned, rabeprazole sprinkle is approved for use in children as young as 1 year old. It contains the same active ingredient as Aciphex® (rabeprazole sodium) but, unlike regular Aciphex, comes as a capsule that is opened and sprinkled onto soft foods or into liquids. This makes it easier for children to take.
Regular Aciphex is approved to treat GERD in children 12 years of age and older, as well as adults. It is also approved for the treatment of several other conditions within the esophagus, stomach, and intestines in adults (see What Is Aciphex Used For? for information about regular Aciphex).
Rabeprazole sprinkle is only approved for use in children for up to 12 weeks, although PPI medications are often used long-term in certain cases. In clinical studies, it was shown to help heal damage to the lining of the esophagus due to GERD in children. 
6 Quick Tips for Getting Kids to Take Medicine

Rabeprazole Sprinkle Drug Information

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