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Aginate suspension ‘effective option’ for heartburn

An alginate is an effective alternative to proton pump inhibitors in patients with regular heartburn, conclude the authors of a primary care study.

French and British researchers randomised patients with heartburn aged between 18 and 60 years that suffered with two to six days of episodes of gastrointestinal reflux per week, to receive either an alginate suspension or omeprazole.

Patients filled in a questionnaire four times a day, and this was used by GPs to assess the mean time to onset of the first 24 hour heartburn-free period after initial dosing.

No difference was found between the two treatments in achieving onset of the first 24-hour heartburn free period. Mean time to onset was two days for both the alginate and omeprazole, although omeprazole provided significantly more heartburn-free days.

Study lead Dr Denis Pouchain, lecturer in general medicine at the François Rabelais University, France, said: ‘In a general practice setting for patients complaining of moderate heartburn, alginates are an effective short-term treatment option in mild-to-moderate GORD.'

The study was funded by Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare France.

BMC Gastroenterology 2012, published online 23 February