The management of oesophageal reflux disease can and should be highly individualised, depending on the severity of the disease. Mild occasional symptoms of heartburn can often be controlled with conservative measures or changes in diet and antacids. For patients with erosive or ulcerative oesophageal disease, it is becoming clear that acid plays a crucial role in injury and that suppression of acid enhances healing. Antipeptic dosages of histamine receptor antagonists achieve good relief of symptoms but may not always heal erosive oesophagitis. Healing rates are improved with the use of new hydrogen-potassium adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) pump inhibitors which suppress virtually all acid production. The recurrence of disease is common after acid suppression therapy is discontinued, suggesting the need for some form of long term maintenance therapy. Promotility drugs, which improve oesophageal motility, have inconsistent results in clinical trials and have been associated with a higher rate of adverse drug effects in comparison with acid-suppressive therapies. Surgical treatment should still be considered for patients with chronic recurrent disease who do not respond well to pharmacological therapies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)