March 24, 2014

30% of Patients with Reflux will NOT Respond to Medications

Specifically, patients who are suffering with throat symptoms of reflux will often not respond to proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) medications. Such throat symptoms include throat-clearing, phlegmy throat, cough, hoarseness, and globus. Known as LPR (laryngopharyngeal reflux), a study was done measuring the pH at the throat level after 4+ weeks of twice daily PPI.

This retrospective study found that although 67.4% had symptom normalization, 32.6% of patients showed no subjective or objective treatment response. For all patients whose symptoms did not normalize, pH scores also did not normalize.  For individuals whose symptoms normalized but whose pH scores did not normalize, there was a significant decrease in upright pH score.

Based on these findings, one should NOT assume that lack of response to reflux medications indicative of reflux being an incorrect diagnosis. Further study with a pH or impedance monitoring should be performed in non-responders to help figure out what is going on.

Effects of Proton Pump Inhibitor Therapy for Laryngopharyngeal Reflux on Posttreatment Symptoms and Hypopharyngeal pH. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014 Mar 19. [Epub ahead of print]

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Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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