The rationale of acid suppression in the treatment of acid-related disease.
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Acid-related disorders such as gastric and duodenal ulcers and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease have a high prevalence. Traditionally, acid suppression has proved to be the most effective means by which to heal these disorders, but relapse rates are high after cessation of treatment. Recently, Helicobacter pylori infection has been shown to modify several aspects of gastric function. Eradication of H. pylori infection virtually abolishes duodenal ulcer recurrence, implicating this organism in the pathogenesis of peptic ulcers and initiating a whole new strategy in the management of these acid-related disorders. More potent degrees of acid suppression result in faster healing. Moderate acid suppression, as occurs with H2-receptor antagonists, can heal just as many ulcers if treatment is continued for longer. The combination of proton pump inhibitors and antibiotics have successfully eradicated H. pylori in duodenal ulcer patients. Both H2-receptor antagonists and the proton pump inhibitors have satisfactory safety profiles. Due to their superiority in symptom relief, and in the healing of duodenal and gastric ulcers and erosive oesophagitis, and due to their ability to eradicate H. pylori infection in combination with antibiotics, the proton pump inhibitors will probably become accepted as first-line therapy for the treatment of acid-related diseases.
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