How to Keep GERD from Coming Back

One of the biggest problems with treating GERD is dealing with the issue of relapse. GERD has a bad habit of returning as soon as you stop your medication unless you make some dramatic lifestyle changes. The vast majority of people with GERD will re-experience their symptoms as soon as they stop their medications. This can occur within a few weeks or within six months.

In fact, 85 to 90 percent of all people with GERD experience relapse. The problem with any treatment for GERD is that the medication is designed to fix things so long as you are taking it. There are no good studies that can definitely say, "When you combine drug A with Drug B, you can prevent GERD from recurring." As a result, many doctors combine certain therapies based on what they've seen in their own practices; in other words, there are no rules. Some doctors may have a lot of success combining a prokinetic drug with an H2 receptor drug, while others may find that only using omeprazole, a proton pump inhibitor, is a better way to prevent relapse. The problem with most drug studies is that they are all short term, and therefore are not useful in this instance.

The best approach to preventing relapse is to make some lifestyle changes once your initial symptoms are healed. If that doesn't work, some sort of ongoing medication may be prescribed on an intermittent basis or daily. What you take and how much you take largely depends on how well you've responded to various medications in the past and your won feelings about taking a maintenance drug. Maintenance therapy may include cisapride, an H2 receptor drug, or omeprazole, used in people who have had very severe symptoms.