Historic Perspective

Not so long ago, in the middle part of this century, tranquilizers and sedatives were the “treatment of choice”, routinely prescribed by doctors for Infant Colic. There is no doubt that such medicines worked quite well. They were abandoned in the 1960’s, however, when we began to appreciate that they had adverse long-term developmental consequences. The idea persists to this day, however, in some quarters. Not only do some older doctors persist in prescribing such medications (Paregoric, Phenobarbital, Bentyl) but some recent research has shown that small quantities of alcohol given to colicky babies result in a reduction in crying time. It should be noted, however, that alcohol is really in the same pharmacologic category as all of the tranquilizers previously used, and likely would have the same adverse developmental consequences.