The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging parents not to give premature babies (babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) the thickening product called SimplyThick. The product may cause a life-threatening health problem called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). With NEC, tissue in the intestines gets inflamed and dies.
Some premature babies have trouble swallowing. SimplyThick is a product that’s added to breastmilk or formula to make it thicker. Health providers recommended SimplyThick because it helped premature babies swallow their food and keep it down, without spitting it up. SimplyThick was available from distributors and local pharmacies.
The FDA learned that some babies got sick with NEC after they were sent home on an eating plan that included SimplyThick. Sadly, some of these babies died. NEC most often happens early in a premature baby’s life while she is still in the hospital, not after she’s sent home. NEC is very dangerous to a baby’s health.
At this time, the FDA isn’t sure what about SimplyThick is making babies sick. The organization is actively looking into the link between SimplyThick and these illnesses and deaths.
In the meantime, the FDA urges parents to stop using the product immediately, even if their babies don’t appear to be sick.
Call your baby’s health care provider if she shows any of these signs:
• bloated stomach
• greenish-tinged vomiting
• bloody stools
For more information on SimplyThick and the risk to premature babies, visit the FDA website.