Veterans Need Better GERD Treatment and Follow-up
A recent study evaluating veterans diagnosed with GERD highlights several problems that need to be addressed in the treatment of GERD. The study found that most of the veterans were given more than a three month supply, doses that were very high initial dosages and most had not been weaned down from their dose two years after the initial prescription (1).
The obvious problems become leaving patients on medications that they may not need, may cause additional side effects and cause the patient to spend money that may not have been necessary. It is important that all patients diagnosed with GERD and put on a PPI discuss a plan with their doctor. They need to know how long the medication should take to work, how long they should stay on the medication and how and when to lower the dosage or stop taking the medication. Instructions should also be given on the lifestyle changes that can help to improve the patient’s symptoms.
Some patients do need long term therapy with PPI medications but this should only be determined on a case by case basis.