GERD treatment strategies

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 16, 2006

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Drugs can be as effective as surgery for managing gastroesophageal reflux disease, according to a Dec. 14, 2005, report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The report is the first to result from a comparative effectiveness review, a new AHRQ program that compares alternative treatments for health conditions.

The report, "Comparative Effectiveness of Management Strategies for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease," compares treatment approaches for chronic, uncomplicated GERD, where the condition is likely to require life-long management but does not involve more serious disease of the esophagus.

For the majority of patients, proton pump inhibitors can be as effective as surgery at relieving symptoms and improving quality of life, according to the report. And although surgery is sometimes chosen to remove the need to take medications, the evidence is unclear that medications will be unnecessary in the future.

AHRQ's new program was created to help patients and physicians select among treatments by reviewing existing studies and comparing the outcomes of different treatments. Nine more reviews are under way.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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