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The majority of GPs are unaware of how to diagnose and treat acid reflux of the larynx, a new study warns.

A survey of 150 GPs found 72 per cent were not familiar with the term laryngopharyngeal reflux.

Only 11 per cent were aware of the Reflux Symptom Index ­ a nine-item instrument for predicting outcomes.

Some 73 per cent of GPs

prescribed proton pump inhibitors for four weeks and 23 per cent for six to eight weeks ­ but only 1 per cent prescribed the drugs for more than six months, as recommended by the American Academy of Otolaryngology.

Study leader Dr Peter Karkos, specialist registrar in otolaryngology at Countess of Chester Hospital, Chester, said: 'There is a large group of patients with LPR symptoms. LPR should be treated as a new entity and not as a variation of GORD.'

Dr Karkos added: 'LPR used to be called silent reflux or

atypical reflux. Patients don't need to have indigestion and heartburn to suffer with LPR ­ in fact the rule is the majority of LPR patients don't suffer with the typical GORD manifestations.'

The study, published in

Otolaryngology ­ Head and Neck Surgery, also found 82 per cent of patients were told to take the drugs at night, whereas LPR reflux normally occurs during the day.

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