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REFLUX AND HEARTBURN
About your treatment

OBJECTIVES OF THE TREATMENT

GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), a condition that occurs when there is reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus, which causes bothersome symptoms and / or complications, is a chronic and recurrent disease that requires long-term therapy to control the symptoms and prevent complications.9

The existing treatments have a common mechanism which is to decrease the amount of acid that is produced in the stomach which flows back from this area into the esophagus9, with the aim of:

  • Relieve or eliminate symptoms
  • Cure esophagitis or lesions in the esophagus
  • Prevent the development of complications

The key point of the therapy is the long-term maintenance; therefore, the appropriate thing is a continuous and possibly lifelong therapy that controls symptoms and prevents complications. Therapy will vary depending on the person and can range from simple changes in lifestyle to the use of prescription drugs.

 

WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO CONTINUE TAKING THE TREATMENT EVEN WHEN THE SYMPTOMS OF GERD (GASTROESOPHAGEAL REFLUX DISEASE) HAVE BEEN CONTROLLED?

Once the GERD treatment is started, usually the symptoms will be controlled before the total healing of the lesions, if they are present. It is important to bear in mind that the intensity of the symptoms is not related to the absence or presence of them, that is, the patient may have severe injuries and present mild symptoms or none or the opposite case.

From the above reasons comes the importance of not interrupting the treatment when you feel that the symptoms have been controlled.

If the treatment is discontinued without your doctor's recommendation, or your GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is not treated, or it is treated but inappropriately, complications may occur10, such as:

  • Narrowing or obstruction of the esophagus (stenosis)
  • Barret's esophagus (complication with the potential for malignancy)
  • Increase in the risk of esophageal cancer

 

SYMPTOMS SUGGESTING THAT SERIOUS DAMAGE MAY HAVE ALREADY OCCURRED INCLUDE:

  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing or feeling that food gets stuck)
  • Bleeding (vomiting blood or black stools)
  • Weight loss

 

 

 PROTON PUMP INHIBITOR (PPI´S)

 

 

After the diagnosis, your doctor will indicate that it is essential that you make changes in your lifestyle. This involves making a change in your daily diet, exercise frequently, if you are a smoker you are advised to quit the habit, maintain an ideal weight according to your height.2

In many of the cases diagnosed with GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)  despite the change in lifestyle, it is necessary to add some medication to the treatment of the disease      

 

WHAT ARE PRPOTON PUMP INHIBITORS?

They are a class (group) of drugs that reduce stomach acid that IS produced by the cells lining the stomach.11 This group of medicines has a good performance, so it has had a high impact on the quality of life to the patients who have used them.

 

HOW DO PPI´s (PROTON PUMP INHIBITORS) WORK?

The stomach constantly produces acid for the process of digestion of food and bacteria. This acid is corrosive so that the body produces a natural mucous barrier that prevents the lining of the stomach from being mistreated.9

In some people, this barrier can be weakened by allowing the secreted acid to damage the stomach and cause an ulcer. In other patients there may be a problem with the muscle band of the upper part of the stomach that keeps the passage of gastric contents closed to the esophagus, when this band or muscle is weakened it allows the stomach acid to escape and irritate the esophagus.

The PPIs or Proton Pump Inhibitors cause the cells of the lining of the stomach to stop producing excessive amounts of acid, this can prevent the formation of ulcers or help in the healing process of lesions, with the use of PPIs, it is also possible to reduce or eliminate the annoying symptoms related to reflux.9

 

HOW FAST DO PROTON PUMP INHIBITORS WORK?

Generally, the body absorbs PPIs optimally and these can provide quick relief to problems such as heartburn caused by reflux. However, it is important to keep in mind that if you are taking them for more serious problems - for example, to heal an ulcer - these medications may take longer for the desired effect.9

How long should you use these medications?

This may vary, depending on the reason you are taking them.11 It is very important to follow the instructions of your health professional and not discontinue your treatment unless your doctor tells you to.

 



CELEBRATE LIFES GIVES YOU SOME RECOMENDATIONS

 

 

WHAT SHOULD MY DOCTOR KNOW BEFORE PRESCRIBING THE MEDICATION?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:

  • Allergic reaction to any medication.
  • Liver disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Low levels of magnesium in the blood 

 

HOW SHOULD I USE PPIs (PROTON PUMP INHIBITORS)?

You should always follow your doctor's instructions, but it is important that you know key points when using this group of medicines, such as12:

  • Use your medication on an empty stomach and about 30 minutes before your food intake.
  • Try to take it every day at the same time.
  • Plan so you do not run out of medication.
  • Do not stop taking it without authorization, even if your symptoms have already disappeared.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Do not crush or chew the medication, use water to take it

 

HOW SHOULD I STORE THIS TYPE OF MEDICATION?

Store at room temperature. Keep the container closed. Do not place it in very humid environments, heat or bright light. Remember to always store your medicines out of the reach of children.

 



REMEMBER TO CONTINUE WITH YOU TREATMENT

 

 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) cannot be ignored. Generally, that annoying symptom that distinguishes the disease, the acidity, is not given the necessary importance. GERD can have serious consequences if you do not go to your doctor as soon as these symptoms begin to affect your lifestyle, this can include emotional, social and professional aspects.4

To avoid consequences related to GERD, try to use your treatment appropriately, follow all the indications that your doctor gives you. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask your health care provider.

If your symptoms continue despite changes in your lifestyle and medication, let your doctor know. Your symptoms may not be related to GERD or you may be suffering from a complication4 related to GERD such as:

  • Esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus)
  • Stenosis: when your esophagus is narrowed by ulceration and scarring
  • Respiratory problems: asthma, chronic cough

 

Both patients and doctors have shown a high level of satisfaction with treatment with Proton Pump Inhibitors, however, some have residual symptoms, hence the importance of not abandoning their treatment.

 

 

References

2.Sandhu , D., & Fass, R. (2018, Enero). Current Trends in the Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Gut and Liver, 12(1), 7-16.

4.The American Gastroenterological Association. (2017, julio). The American Gastroenterological Association. Retrieved from www.gastro.orl

9. American College of Gastroenterology. (2019). American College of Gastroenterology. Retrieved from https://patients.gi.org

10. Olmos, J., Piskorz , M., & Vela, M. (2016). Revisión sobre enfermedad por reflujo gastroesofágico (ERGE). Acta Gastroenterología Latinoamérica, 46, 160-172.

11. Gyawali , C., & Fass, R. (2018). Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. American Gastroenterological Assosiation, 302-3018.

12. Aguilera Castro, L., Argila de Prados, C., & Albillos Martínez, A. (2016). Consideraciones prácticas en el manejo de los inhibidores de la bomba de protones. Revista Española de Enfermedades Digestivas, 108(3), 145-153.