Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) places a significant cost burden on the U.S. health care system with annual cost estimates exceeding 9 billion dollars (Perry et al, 2014). GERD is also expensive to the individual living with the disease. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin (2015) recently investigated which of the treatment options for adults with GERD were the most cost effective.
Their research used a 45 year old man with acid reflux symptoms, taking 20 mg of a PPI twice a day as their foundation for comparison of treatments. They analyzed four different treatment strategies: PPI therapy, transorol incisionless fundoplication (EsophyX), radiofrequency energy application (Stretta) and laproscopic Nissen fundoplication.
They found that low cost PPIs, Stretta and laproscopic Nissen fundoplication all represent cost effective treatment strategies. However, when the cost of PPIs exceeded $90 per month, PPIs no longer were considered cost effective over 30 years.
While it is extremely important to consider the cost of care for acid reflux disease, there are several other things to think about when comparing. First, this research used a 45-year-old man as their baseline, and someone who is taking medication twice daily. Both medication dosages and costs can vary widely. It is also important to remember that there are other factors beyond cost that must be considered when deciding on which treatment option is the best for you or someone under your care. Acid reflux disease is a condition that is constantly changing and the available treatment options are always improving. If your acid reflux disesase is financially burdensome, it is important to talk to your doctor about the latest treatment options and ideas for making them affordable to you over the long haul.
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. Learn more about Tracy and what healthy living services and products she can offer on her website. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.