Optimizing medical therapy for gastroesophageal reflux disease: State of the art
Potential interventions for gastroesophageal reflux disease include lifestyle modifications, antacids, mucosal protectants, prokinetic (promotility) agents, H2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) and, the agents of choice in 2003, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). This article reviews the current state of the art in use of these agents. Lifestyle changes, though sound in their intent and in many cases based on solid laboratory research, can today be considered only adjuncts to pharmacologic therapy. The mainstay of pharmacologic therapy in 2003 is antisecretory therapy. Both H2RAs and PPIs inhibit acid secretion and raise intragastric pH. H2RAs only block one receptor, have limited effect on acid reduction, and are relatively weak inhibitors of meal-stimulated acid secretion. PPIs provide superior control of intragastric pH over a 24-hour period compared with H2RAs and effect greater symptom relief and healing.