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Treatment of GERD

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Over the counter medications

Over the recent past years, large numbers of GERD sufferers use OTC antacids and other agents that are available without a prescription to treat the discomforts and infrequent heartburn.

The common OTC medications include the following:

  • Antacids—help to reduce gastric acidity.
  • H2-receptor blockers (H2RBs) such as ranitidine or famotidine—reduce gastric secretion of acid.
  • Proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole (it was recently included in the list of OTC)—stop acid secretion at the source of acid production.

Prescriptions medicines

There are some more powerful drugs for sever and uncontrolled symptoms of GERD which should be taken under supervision of a doctor such as:

  • Higher H2-receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors
  • Prokinetics such as domperidone and itopride—strengthen the lower esophageal spincter and fasten the gastric emptying.
Sucralfate—useful as an adjunct to heal and prevent esophageal damage caused by hyperacidity.


Surgical Option

Surgery alleviates heartburn and regurgitation in 75–90% of patients, but is less effective in relieving extraesophageal symptoms such as cough, asthma or laryngitis.4 Surgery is recommended in patients with the presence of the following conditions:

  • Incomplete symptomatic control with PPIs
  • Severe pulmonary problems such as bronchitis or pneumonia

Antireflux surgery can be performed through open or laparoscopic incisions in the abdominal wall. One such surgery, the Nissen fundoplication involves wrapping a portion of the stomach around the esophagus to reinforce the weakened valve mechanism. While effective, these surgeries require general anesthesia, overnight hospitalization and a recovery period lasting several days.


Alternative therapy

Although several home remedies exist for treating GERD, they only provide temporary relief. These include drinking baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) added to water. Although these liquids provide temporary relief by neutralizing the acid, eventually the condition gets aggravated due to addition of gas and fluid in the stomach.

Next page: Lifestyle modifications for GRED

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: July 27, 2012