Heartburn in primary care: problems below the surface

Holtmann, Gerald; Maldonado-Lopez, Evelyn; Haag, Sebastian
November 2004
Journal of Gastroenterology;2004, Vol. 39 Issue 11, p1027
Academic Journal
Heartburn is a common physiological event often associated with an underlying occurrence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Studies show that GERD is a highly prevalent and chronic condition that significantly impacts on the patient’s quality of life (QoL) and, in the long term, increases the risk for developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, more commonly referred to as Barrett’s esophagus. Data indicate that symptom severity is a poor predictor of either the presence of erosive mucosal lesions or the development of complications. Given that lifestyle modifications are often insufficient for long-term treatment of GERD, drugs that inhibit gastric acid production-such as the proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)-are now the most effective strategy. Although generally well tolerated, the potential of PPIs for interactions with other drugs needs to be considered. This review discusses the symptoms and risk factors associated with GERD, possible links toHelicobacter pyloriinfection, and effective treatment strategies within a primary care setting.


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