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Noteworthy Publications

Obesity does not affect treatment outcomes with proton pump inhibitors

About 1 in 10 Americans experiences gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms at least once a week. Smoking and obesity can contribute to GERD symptoms, and many foods—especially fatty, fried, citrus or tomato-based foods, chocolate, and caffeine—can worsen symptoms.

People who are obese are more likely to have GERD. Despite their higher risk for the disorder, they are just as likely as normal-weight patients to be helped by proton-pump inhibitors, the strongest treatment available for the disease, according to a recent VA study.

Led by Prateek Sharma, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Kansas City, Mo., VA Medical Center, researchers examined data on more than 11,700 patients who had taken part in clinical trials. The team looked at data on patients with mild or a more erosive form of GERD and compared their treatment outcomes based on body mass index (BMI). BMI, a calculation based on height and weight, is used to determine obesity.

The study showed that weight was not a factor in the success of treatment with the proton-pump inhibitor esomeprazole (sold as Nexium and Essocam). People who were obese before treatment did tend to have more severe reflux symptoms, however. (Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, September 2013)

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