Antidepressant Medication and Acid Reflux Symptoms

by Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer

In response to my last SharePost, a concerned mother sent a comment reporting her son was experiencing reflux and vomiting, and his doctor had prescribed a low dose of an antidepressant to help with her son's reflux symptoms.

The link between antidepressant medication and acid reflux seems to be somewhat mixed. In an older study (1984), it was found that Doxepin helped with acid suppression in rats. In a newer study (2006), there was evidence to support the fact that at least one antidepressant, Salbutamol, may increase the risk of needing to use an acid reflux medication. This study was performed with humans. There are most likely numerous other studies published that could support either side. So, what is a patient and consumer to do?

First, even if studies abound about the effectiveness of a certain drug on acid reflux treatment, remember that even in those well controlled studies, the individual responses to the drug varied. In other words, if a study showed that a certain medicine worked for a certain symptom, it did not work for everyone in the study - only a statistically significant number of individuals. Others in the study may have become very sick as a result of trying the drug, or maybe the drug had absolutely no impact on them. The good doctors understand this world of research, and also understand medicine is sometimes an art, and these studies sometimes only serve as a starting place.

Second, I hope that if you are the type of person who cares about what the latest healthcare research shows, you are matched with a physician who is open to learning and unthreatened by your curiosity. Keep in mind that these professionals are under tremendous pressure regarding their time, however, a polite question about what they understand about the relationship between a certain class of drugs and acid reflux should be welcomed.

Third. Be patient. No pun intended. I am convinced that our family has garnered one of the best medical teams in the country for our son, and finding a treatment regime that works for him has been a five year process. Finding something that works for you or your family may be a longer process than you had hoped.

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.
Meet Our Writer
Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Davenport is the founder of Using the latest scientific research, she helps people live their healthiest lives via one-on-one coaching, corporate talks, and sharing the more than 1,000 health-related articles she's authored.