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Drugs Can Match Surgery for Acid Reflux Disease

About 10% to 65% of surgical patients still need proton pump inhibitors after surgery

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Medication, including proton pump inhibitors, can work as well as surgery to manage gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), according to a report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The report, the first to be released by a new AHRQ program comparing therapies for health problems, was prepared by the Tufts-New England Medical Center Evidence-based Practice Center under contract with AHRQ. It reviews various treatments for chronic GERD, ranging from proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs to fundoplication surgery.

PPI drugs can work as well as surgery to improve symptoms and decrease esophageal acid problems, the report found. Some 10% to 65% of surgical patients still required medication after surgery. Meanwhile, PPIs work better than some other drugs at controlling GERD, but have more side effects, including headache, diarrhea and abdominal pain, according to the report.

"Today's report will help patients and healthcare providers make more informed choices when they consider how to manage the symptoms of chronic GERD, and especially when they consider surgery," AHRQ director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., said in a statement.

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