Some Symptoms of GERD are Harder to Treat than Others

While acid-suppressing drugs known as proton-pump inhibitors effectively treat heartburn, they do not have the same positive effect against regurgitation.

While acid-suppressing drugs known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) effectively treat heartburn, they do not have the same positive effect against regurgitation, another symptom of GERD. This happens when fluid from the stomach rises up into the back of the mouth, causing a bitter taste.

True regurgitation affects 20 to 30 percent of people with GERD that, according to Dr. Joel Richter at the Temple University Department of Medicine, is “curable through surgery to tighten the passageway between the esophagus and the top of the stomach”. Study author Dr. Peter Kahrilas of Northwestern University also added that PPIs eliminate acid but regurgitation can still happen without acid, thus causing the unpleasant symptom to continue.

Instead of surgery, people can still lower the rate of regurgitation by eating smaller meals, not exercising right after eating, and avoiding wearing clothes that are tight around the midsection.

The study done by Dr. Kahrilas, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, discovered the virtual ineffectiveness of PPIs with regurgitation. The study found that in the 31 large studies done regarding the effectiveness of PPIs for GERD, People said their regurgitation improved only marginally better with PPIs that with a placebo drug. Furthermore, the proportion of those whose regurgitation responded to PPI treatment was at least 20 percent less that the heartburn response rate.

Around the Web

Some reflux symptoms hard to treat [Reuters]

Response of Regurgitation to Proton Pump Inhibitor Therapy in Clinical Trials of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease [Proceedings from The American Journal of Gastroenterology]