Antisecretory drugs are frequently used in the treatment of pediatric gastrointestinal disorders. This study was aimed to assess the prescribing patterns and the safety of ranitidine and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) in a cohort of Italian pediatric patients. Children aged >1 month to <16 years that were admitted to our Pediatric Clinic between 2016 and 2018 were enrolled in this retrospective observational study. All data were obtained from medical records and a parent telephone questionnaire. The exclusion criteria included the use of antisecretory therapy at hospital admission, failure to collect the relevant clinical data, and failure to administer the questionnaire. This study included 461 subjects, who were divided into four age groups: <2 years, 2-5 years, 6-11 years, and ≥12 years. Ranitidine was prescribed in 396 (85.9%) patients, mainly for the acute treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms, and a PPI was given to 65 (14.1%) children to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastritis/ulcer, or for gastroprotection. During the study period, the percentage of patients treated with ranitidine progressively increased, except in the 2-5-year age group. We observed eighty-seven adverse drug reactions (ADRs), 61 of which occurred in the ranitidine group and 26 in the PPI group. The most common ADR was constipation ( = 35), which occurred more frequently in children treated with PPIs and in the 6-11-year age group. Ranitidine was the most used antisecretory drug in all the age groups, especially for acute treatment. Conversely, PPIs were the drugs of choice for prolonged treatments. Further research should be focused on developing an effective and safer alternative to ranitidine.
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