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Ther Adv Respir Dis. 2011 Apr;5(2):143-50. doi: 10.1177/1753465810384606. Epub 2010 Oct 6.

The relationship between gastroesophageal reflux and asthma: an update.

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The Ohio State University Medical Center, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


Asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are both common conditions and, hence, they often coexist. However, asthmatics have been found to have a much greater prevalence of GERD symptoms than the general population. There remains debate regarding the underlying physiologic mechanism(s) of this relationship and whether treatment of GERD actually translates into improved asthma outcomes. Based on smaller trials with somewhat conflicting results regarding improved asthma control with treatment of GERD, current guidelines recommend a trial of GERD treatment for symptomatic asthmatics even without symptoms of GERD. However, recently a large multicenter trial demonstrated that the treatment of asymptomatic GERD with proton-pump inhibitors did not improve asthma control in terms of pulmonary function, rate of asthma exacerbations, asthma-related quality of life, or asthma symptom frequency. These data suggest empiric treatment of asymptomatic GERD in asthmatics is not a useful practice. This review article provides an overview of the epidemiology and pathophysiologic relationships between asthma and GERD as well as a summary of current data regarding links between treatment of GERD with asthma outcomes.

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