Drugs Can't Keep the Liquids Down

Acid reflux patients get little regurgitation relief from proton-pump inhibitors

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Heartburn and regurgitation (when stomach fluids rise back to the mouth) are the usual signs of acid reflux disease. The most popular acid reflux drugs may work well to stop heartburn, regurgitations is another story.

People with acid reflux disease said that Prilosec and Prevacid (proton-pump inhibitors) - drugs commonly used to treat acid reflux - only slightly helped them deal with regurgitation. The drugs had much less success reducing regurgitation than they did reducing heartburn.

"Some symptoms of acid reflux are harder to treat than others."

The study's authors write that regurgitation may be an important part of why many acid reflux patients do not have a full response to treatment with Prilosec or Prevacid.

For their study, Peter J. Kahrilas, M.D., from Northwestern University, and colleagues looked at past studies to see how proton-pump inhibitors helped treat regurgitation in acid reflux patients. The studies compared the effectiveness of proton-pump inhibitors to placebos (pills with no medication) and other drugs.

They focused on seven studies showing that patients only got slight relief of regurgitation from proton-pump inhibitors. In fact, the success of proton-pump inhibitors in treating regurgitation was 20 percent less than the drugs' success in treating heartburn.

Many acid reflux patients do not get regurgitation relief from Prilosec or Prevacid. For this reason, regurgitation problems may be why patients do not get complete relief of acid reflux symptoms.

The authors conclude that future studies should focus specifically on regurgitation. Researchers should be looking for ways that help acid reflux patients deal with this symptom. 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 8, 2011
Last Updated:
June 10, 2011