Doctors In The Know Have Stopped Prescribing Reflux Drugs

Change in eating habits may be as effective as medications

(HEALTHDAY NEWS) A mostly vegetarian diet may provide relief similar to widely used medications for people with acid reflux, a new study suggests.

Drugs to treat reflux rank among the top-selling medications in the United States, but certain foods may be a better choice for many. 

The study looked at close to 200 patients at one medical center who had been diagnosed with laryngopharyngeal reflux.

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It’s a condition where stomach acids habitually back up into the throat, and it’s distinct from the much better-known gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) — or what most people call heartburn.

People with laryngopharyngeal reflux usually don’t have heartburn, explained Dr. Craig Zalvan, the lead researcher on the new study.

Instead, they have symptoms like hoarseness, chronic sore throat, persistent coughing, excessive throat clearing and a feeling of a lump in the throat.

Still, the problem is often treated with GERD drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs include prescription and over-the-counter drugs like Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium, and they rank among the top-selling medications in the United States.

PPIs do help some people with laryngopharyngeal reflux, said Zalvan. He’s chief of otolaryngology at Northwell Health System’s Phelps Hospital, in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

And Zalvan, himself, used to prescribe them regularly.

However, it became clear that the medications were not effective for many patients, Zalvan said. At the same time, he noted, studies began raising concerns that PPIs are not as safe as thought. READ FULL STORY AT MEDLINEPLUS.GOV 

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