What Is a Medically Prescribed Infant Formula?

By Casey Quinn

Medically prescribed infant formula can be used to treat a variety of ailments that an infant may be suffering from. These formulas vary in their design and can be expensive to use. In most cases, medically prescribed infant formula will only be recommended to treat more serious issues.

Significance

Some children are born with dietary and physical needs that can't be satisfied by traditional types of infant formula that can be purchased without a prescription. Some pediatricians will determine that a baby may need the help of a prescription infant formula in order to accommodate these special needs. There are several types of prescription infant formulas today that have been developed specifically to treat a variety of issues.

Function

Some babies are born with an allergy to the protein that is found in cow's milk. Many babies struggle with reflux which means that the formula that they are consuming is coming back up into their esophagus after they have swallowed. Another common problem that can be found in infants is lactose intolerance. Whether it is an allergy, reflux or lactose intolerance, a pediatrician will commonly prescribe a prescription infant formula in an effort to overcome the problem.

Types

Prescription infant formulas that have been designed to overcome allergies to cow's milk are typically hydrolyzed. This means that the protein found in the formula, which is likely to be from whey, has been broken into smaller pieces for easy digestion. For infants who struggle with reflux, there are formulas that have been designed with thickening agents that help the formula stay within the stomach. Infants that are found to be lactose intolerant can be given prescription formula that replaces lactose with glucose.

Considerations

The cost of prescription infant formula can be very high. Depending on your particular health insurance policy, a portion of the expense of the formula may be covered. You will likely have to prove that your child is in need of the prescription infant formula in order to be eligible for coverage. Some policies will simply require the standard co-pay for the formula while other policies may not cover the cost at all.

Warnings

Like any food product that is sold, prescription infant formula can be recalled at any time. There are numerous reasons that have prompted recalls of formula in the past including bacterial contamination. Parents should be aware of the possibility of a recall. Checking the manufacturer's website is a great way to stay up-to-date with the latest news regarding the prescription infant formula that they have selected. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also posts recall information on their website regularly.

About the Author

Casey Quinn is a freelance writer and the editor of the magazine "Short Story Library." He has been featured in publications such as “Writer’s Digest” and “The Dollar Stretcher.” Quinn has a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems.