(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
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