Dysphagia (Swallowing Problems) (cont.)
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Dysphagia Medical Treatment and Medications
Symptoms of GERD, such as heartburn, if present, are treated with medications designed to reduce acid levels in the stomach. These can include:
Patients with achalasia or other motility disorders of the esophagus can be treated with medications that help to relax the lower esophageal sphincter. These include the nitrate class of drugs, for example, isosorbide dinitrate (Isordil) and calcium-channel blockers, for example, nifedipine (Procardia) and verapamil (Calan). These drugs, however, are not very effective, and surgical intervention often is necessary.
A more recently developed treatment for some types of dysphagia associated with esophageal muscle problems caused by spasm is the endoscopic injection of botulinum toxin (Botox), for example, into the lower esophageal sphincter to weaken the sphincter in achalasia. Treatment with botulinum toxin is safe, but the effects on the sphincter often last only for months, and additional injections are necessary.
Corticosteroids are the treatment for dysphagia caused by eosinophilic esophagitis.
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