Gastroesophageal reflux disease: New treatments
Proton Pump Inhibitors
The primary therapeutic endpoint for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease is complete relief of symptoms and improvement in quality of life. The withdrawal of cisapride has created a vacuum in the prokinetic market, with few promising drugs in the pipeline. Reflux inhibitors are being considered for clinical trials, but as of yet are unavailable. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) continue to be the backbone of therapy for acid suppression, providing excellent relief of symptoms and healing of erosive esophagitis. Isomeric technology with esomeprazole as the prototype represents an advance in PPI pharmacology. Antireflux surgery is now more patient-friendly, with shorter hospitalization and less major morbidity compared to open fundoplication, but surgery is at best equal to medical therapy when optimal doses of antisecretory therapy are used. Two endoscopic procedures were recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease: radiofrequency energy delivery to the gastroesophageal junction, and transoral flexible endoscopic suturing. These techniques should be used selectively until we have more data and until results are compared to the safe and highly effective medical therapies.