REVIEW – June 2007

Gastroesophageal reflux disease: from overdiagnosing towards resistance to treatment

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Gastro-esophageal reflux disease is a frequent problem around the world with a prevalence of up to 20% of population. Besides typical reflux symptoms – heartburn and regurgitation – and oesophageal lesions (oesophagitis, stricture, Barrett’s oesophagus, adenocarcinoma), gastro-esophageal reflux may cause extra-esophageal syndromes, such as reflux cough, laryngitis, asthma and  dental erosions, which are sometimes overdiagnosed. It has been shown that PPI treatment for extra-esophageal reflux syndromes is usually effective in patients with other typical reflux symptoms. Ineffective PPI treatment for extra-esophageal reflux syndromes does not indicate drug resistance; neither does it prove nor exclude the diagnosis of reflux disease.