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Strategies for medical management of reflux disease.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School, Searle Building 10th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Management of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) patients must consider two issues: (i) how to optimize the treatment of a presenting symptom complex, and (ii) how to manage risk of adenocarcinoma associated with GORD. In most cases the need for, and potency of, pharmacological therapy used is decided by symptom assessment. Considering cost effectiveness, the three increments of pharmacological therapy are: (i) generic histamine(2)receptor antagonists, (ii) standard dose proton pump inhibitors, and (iii) higher dose proton pump inhibitors. Endoscopy is warranted if there is doubt regarding the diagnosis of GORD or if the patient relays alarm symptoms suggesting more ominous diagnoses (dysphagia, bleeding, weight loss, odynophagia). The other major indication for endoscopy is to screen for adenocarcinoma or Barrett's metaplasia in the patient with chronic symptoms. In most patients, the need for maintenance medical therapy is determined by the rapidity of symptom recurrence during a trial period off the medication.

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