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Updated Guides Compare Treatments for GERD

Both drug therapies and surgeries considered effective

MONDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Updated, evidence-based, reader-friendly reports comparing treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) have been released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to help guide patient and physician decision-making in treating this condition that affects up to 4 percent of Americans.

Since the first AHRQ report was released in 2005, 3,000 GERD-related studies have been published and new drug therapies and surgical approaches have evolved, necessitating an update of the original report. Researchers combed the literature, expanding the scope to include patients with extraesophageal GERD, and compared the safety and effectiveness of various treatments and provided data that may be relevant to guideline-issuing organizations.

The researchers concluded that drug-based therapies are an effective treatment, and that proton-pump inhibitors have an edge over histamine type 2 receptor antagonists. Laparoscopic fundoplication was found to be as effective or superior to drug therapy, but carries a greater risk of side effects. There was not enough evidence to compare the effectiveness of endoscopic fundoplication with other treatments.

"Because it affects so many Americans, GERD is an important disease both in terms of public health and cost," AHRQ director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., said in a statement. "These new publications will help patients and their clinicians work together to find the best treatment option based on patient preferences and needs."

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