Font Size

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) FAQs (cont.)

What are my options if these treatments don't work?

If these acid blockers do not relieve your symptoms, your health-care professional probably will recommend one of the drugs, which are even stronger, called proton pump inhibitors. Examples of these drugs are omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), pantoprazole (Protonix), and esomeprazole (Nexium). These tablets virtually stop all acid production in the stomach. They typically are taken only once a day. These drugs usually are prescribed if other drugs have not helped.

If you continue to have GERD symptoms, your health-care professional may recommend adding a promotility drug such as metoclopramide (Reglan, Clopra, Maxolon) or bethanechol (Duvoid, Urabeth, Urecholine). These drugs empty food and acid quickly from the stomach so less can back up into the esophagus. They also help tighten the LES. These drugs have fairly significant side effects and do not work as well as the proton pump inhibitors in most people and are rarely necessary.

When is surgery needed for GERD?

Surgery is never the first option for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease. If prescription drugs are not relieving symptoms, or if you have serious complications, you may need surgery. The operation is relatively simple and is called fundoplication. Its purpose is to tighten the lower esophageal sphincter muscle. The stomach is tied in such a way as to prevent acid from flowing backward into the esophagus. This surgery is successful for most of people.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/19/2015

Must Read Articles Related to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) FAQs

Acid Reflux (GERD)
Acid Reflux Disease (GERD) Acid reflux (GERD) is caused by acid backing up from the stomach. Causes of acid reflux include learn more >>
Anatomy of the Digestive System
Anatomy of the Digestive System Digestion is the process in which food is broken into smaller pieces so the body can use them to build and nourish cells and provide energy. The digestive syste...learn more >>
Asthma FAQ
Asthma FAQs Asthma is a disease that affects the breathing passages, or airways, of the lungs. Asthma is a chronic (ongoing, long-term) inflammatory disease that causes dif...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about GERD FAQs (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease):

GERD FAQs - Experience

Please share your experience with GERD.

GERD FAQs - Cause

If known, what caused your heartburn or GERD?

GERD FAQs - Lifestyle Changes

What lifestyle changes have you been able to incorporate into your daily lives?

GERD FAQs - Experience

Please share your experience with GERD.

GERD FAQs - Symptoms

What symptoms other than heartburn do you have with GERD?

GERD FAQs - Lifestyle Changes

Please share the lifestyle changes you have found to be helpful in treating GERD and its symptoms?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease »

Gastroesophageal reflux is a normal physiological phenomenon experienced intermittently by most people, particularly after a meal.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary