Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a disease with serious consequences that may result in significant impairment in quality of life and disease morbidity. Across all grades of severity of symptoms and severity of underlying esophageal disease, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) provide therapeutic gains over prokinetics (PKs) or H2receptor antagonists (H2RAs). The potential cost effectiveness of using medications with higher acquisition costs that may lower health care costs overall is often disregarded when conducting cost comparisons with medications having lower 'up-front' costs. Limiting therapy to less effective agents condemns many patients to protracted suffering, repeated physician visits and needless reinvestigation of symptoms that could have been resolved by appropriate initial therapy. Based on current data, use of any classification of symptom severity as a basis for selecting one class of therapeutic agents over another for first line therapy (ie PKs, H2RAs for 'mild' GERD, versus a PPI for 'severe' disease) is unwarranted.