What is acid reflux relief?

In medically oriented terms, antonyms of the word relief include pain, distress or damage. That links its meaning to both subjective and objective aspects. Subjective, denoting sensations experienced by the sufferer such as pain and objective, meaning physical findings detected by specialists which are either functional distress or organic damage. Actually relief is related to control measures and it quantitatively signifies removal of an unpleasant existence or reduction of its magnitude. The definition of relief, therefore encompasses alleviation of pain, relaxation of distress and healing of damage. Acid reflux on the other hand has two sides; the subjective side (symptoms) which reflects the symptom of heartburn and the objective side (signs) that reflects the functional and/or organic signs of esophageal changes. Acid reflux relief is therefore a broad term that covers all the measures used to control symptoms and signs of acid reflux disease. Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter remains closed except during swallowing. This prevents the passage of food and acid from the stomach into the esophagus. If the lower esophageal sphincter becomes weakened or relaxed, stomach acid may back up into the esophagus. Frequent acid reflux can irritate and inflame the lining of the esophagus, causing symptoms and signs of acid reflux. A better understanding of relief would thus entail knowledge of some aspects of normal structure and function, so that changes in the disease and its control could be easily considered. Actually acid reflux relief involves both preventive and curative measures, and in addition to treatment; orientation with the causes, symptoms and complications of acid reflux are essential for proper management. Acid reflux relief includes: dietary changes,lifestyle modifications, specific medications and surgical operations.Basic knowledge of the underlying causes and progression of acid reflux and answering frequently asked questions about its relief; add to the depth of understanding.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Acid Reflux Relief logoAcid Reflux Relief : Combination Therapy

Most patients treated with PPIs in conventional dosages do not exhibit complete suppression of stomach acid secretion. Approximately 70% of individuals who take a PPI twice a day experience nocturnal stomach acid breakthrough (defined as a stomach pH lesser than 4 for more than 1 hour at night). Brief episodes of acid reflux occur frequently during these breakthrough periods in patients with GERD. For some patients taking a PPI twice daily, nocturnal acid breakthrough can be abolished by adding a histamine H2-receptor blocker at bedtime. It is not clear that this approach is desirable, however. Complete elimination of acid reflux usually is not necessary to effect the healing of reflux esophagitis. Indeed, most patients who are treated with a PPI in conventional dosage exhibit complete healing of their symptoms and signs of GERD. No clear clinical benefit yet has been demonstrated for the practice of adding a histamine H2-receptor blocker at bedtime to PPI therapy.

A few older investigations have explored the value of combination drug therapy for the healing of GERD. The great efficacy of the PPIs used as single agents in this condition has discouraged investigators from undertaking new studies on combination therapy. Drug combinations that have been studied have included an H2 blocker plus either sucralfate or a prokinetic agent. Cimetidine (1200 mg/d) combined with sucralfate (5 g/d) was found to be superior to cimetidine alone for relieving daytime heartburn and for improving the endoscopic signs of esophagitis. For patients unresponsive to treatment with cimetidine alone, the addition of metoclopramide resulted in symptomatic improvement significantly more often than the addition of placebo, but side effects of metoclopramide were frequent. A combination of ranitidine (300 mg/d) plus metoclopramide (40 mg/d) was not found to be as effective as omeprazole alone (20 mg/d) in healing the signs and symptoms of esophagitis. Some studies explored combination therapy with the prokinetic agent cisapride, but these studies are of historical interest only because cisapride has been withdrawn from general use due to serious side effects (lethal arryhythmias). For patients with moderately severe reflux esophagitis, the use of combination therapy may eliminate the need for treatment with a PPI. However, the addition of a second medication increases the cost of therapy and the potential for side effects. Furthermore, the long-term benefit of combination therapy has not been demonstrated. For patients who are refractory to single-agent therapy (with an H2 blocker, sucralfate, or a prokinetic), a change to a PPI generally is more likely to effect healing than the addition of a second drug.