News Flash > Asthma & Allergies


Acid Reflux Treatment Does Not Improve Asthma

Reported April 13, 2009

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- While symptoms of asthma and acid reflux often overlap, treating acid reflux may not help asthma patients feel better.

New research from the Ohio State University’s Medical Center finds a common treatment for acid reflux among asthmatics doesn’t actually improve their quality of life. The study shows as many as one-third of patients showed no improvement. Researchers say this makes a strong case for physicians to change how they currently treat these patients.

Researchers wanted to find out whether acid reflux disease or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) makes asthma symptoms worse. They also wanted to see if using a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors in poorly-controlled asthmatic patients without GERD symptoms would significantly improve asthma control.



“This research is especially important because, by determining which patients do not need the additional medication, we are saving them unnecessary costs, potential side effects and the risk of interactions with other drugs,” lead researcher, John Mastronard, the Ohio State University, was quoted as saying.

The study looked at 402 adults with asthma for 24 weeks to see whether using a proton pump inhibiting drug would get rid of asthma symptoms by preventing the release of stomach and intestinal acid. Participants took either 40 milligrams of the drug esomeprazole or a placebo. Esomeprazole is a key ingredient in common GERD drugs including Prilosec and Nexium.

Researchers tracked patients’ lung function and measured their esophageal acid. Participants also answered questionnaires about their symptoms and quality of life. Reports showed the patients who took esomeprazole had no benefits.

About half of asthma patients who have reflux do not have any symptoms. Acid reflux causes the airways in the lungs to constrict and the narrowing airways in asthma patients can trigger acid reflux as well.

SOURCE: New England Journal of Medicine, 2009