The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified parents, caregivers and health care providers not to feed SimplyThick, a thickening agent for management of swallowing disorders, to infants born before 37 weeks. The product may cause necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a life-threatening condition characterized by inflammation and death of intestinal tissue.
BACKGROUND: FDA first learned of adverse events possibly linked to the product on May 13, 2011. To date, the agency is aware of 15 cases of NEC, including two deaths, involving premature infants who were fed SimplyThick for varying amounts of time. The product was mixed with mothers' breast milk or infant formula. Illnesses have been reported from at least four different medical centers around the country. The illnesses of which FDA is aware involve premature infants. SimplyThick was added to the feeding regimen of those infants, who later developed NEC, to help with swallowing difficulties stemming from complications of premature birth.
The product is sold in packets of individual servings and in 64-ounce dispenser bottles. The product can be purchased from distributors and local pharmacies throughout the United States.
RECOMMENDATION: Health care providers should stop administering the product to premature infants. Parents and caregivers who have questions or concerns related to the use of the product and/or who have medical concerns should contact their health care provider.