New algorithm for the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
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BACKGROUND: Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is associated with a variety of typical and atypical symptoms. Patients often present in the first instance to a pharmacist or primary care physician and are subsequently referred to secondary care if initial management fails. Guidelines usually do not provide a clear guidance for all healthcare professionals with whom the patient may consult. AIM: To update a 2002-treatment algorithm for GERD, making it more applicable to pharmacists as well as doctors. METHODS: A panel of international experts met to discuss the principles and practice of treating GERD. RESULTS: The updated algorithm for the management of GERD can be followed by pharmacists, for over-the-counter medications, primary care physicians, or secondary care gastroenterologists. The algorithm emphasizes the importance of life style changes to help control the triggers for heartburn and adjuvant therapies for rapid and adequate symptom relief. Proton pump inhibitors will remain a prominent treatment for GERD; however, the use of antacids and alginate-antacids (either alone or in combination with acid suppressants) is likely to increase. CONCLUSION: The newly developed algorithm takes into account latest clinical practice experience, offering healthcare professionals clear and effective treatment options for the management of GERD.
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