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Researchers at Northwestern University revealed that popular drugs used for regurgitation and acid reflux work much better in addressing heartburn.

Acid reflux is a condition where the fluids from the stomach rise up (reflux) to into the esophagus and into the back of the mouth, causing a bitter taste. Most of these gastric fluids contain acid. When the acid hits the lining of the esophagus, it results in heartburn and produces a burning feeling in the chest or throat.

According to Dr. Peter Kahrilas, heartburn can be easily relieved if the acid causing it is neutralized. He adds that regurgitation can still occur without the acid. That’s why acid-suppressing drugs, known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), can address heartburn problems more effectively than treating regurgitation.

To reduce the likelihood of regurgitation, Dr. Kahrilas suggest eating smaller meals and avoiding clothes that are tight around the midsection.

Dr. Joel Richter of the Department of Medicine at Temple University also added that PPIs are likely to address the burning sensation in the chest rather than the bitter taste in the mouth after meals. “Bad acid regurgitation is a mechanical problem and the PPIs are unlikely to be a cure-all,” he said.

The American Journal of Gastroenterology also released the result of 31 studies on the effectiveness of PPIs against acid reflux disease. The researchers pitted PPIs against placebo drugs in treating regurgitation problems. The result was that PPIs are only marginally better than the placebos.

Generic names of PPIs include omeprazole, lansoprazole and esomeprazole. Most PPIs are available over the counter.

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