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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.

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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 »

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