holiday eating

Eat Right This Holiday Season Now That There's a New Treatment for People Dealing With Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Dec. 18 2023, Published 5:42 p.m. ET

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With the holidays just days away, it's safe to say people are already dreaming about eating gingerbread cookies, drinking Eggnog and indulging in mashed potatoes, steak and baked ham. However, some people are dealing with acid reflux after consuming all the yummy foods this time of year.

Fortunately, there's good news for people dealing with Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which "occurs when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus)," according to the Mayo Clinic.

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There's a new solution to those who have Erosive GERD/Acid Reflux — and it's the first-in-class treatment, called VOQUEZNA, brought to market in 30 years.

When acid reflux happens repeatedly over time, it typically causes heartburn and/or damage to the esophagus. (This is what is meant by GERD.)

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Erosive GERD (also called Erosive Esophagitis) is a form of GERD affecting around 20 million people in the U.S., and it can lead to serious complications, including cancer, if not properly treated.

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People living with GERD can make lifestyle changes to manage the disease such as maintaining a healthy weight and exercising, eating slowly, reducing the fat content of their diet, avoiding foods that trigger reflux (such as alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, etc.), avoiding eating or drinking anything within two hours of bedtime and elevating the head of the bed, to help reduce the frequency of symptoms.

But for those suffering with erosive GERD, at-home remedies typically do not work, making it harder for people to ease the pain, which is why the new drug has exciting potential.

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“Prescription treatments, like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may help, but don’t always adequately work for everyone. As a healthcare provider, I’m excited about the potential of a newly approved treatment called VOQUEZNA, which is from a new class of drug called potassium-competitive acid blockers, or PCABs, which have been shown to demonstrate more rapid, potent and durable suppression of stomach acid than PPIs," Colin W. Howden, MD, Professor Emeritus, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, tells Morning Honey.

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Since the holidays are often filled with rich and dense foods — alcohol, sugar, chocolate, etc. — VOQUEZNA, a new, first-in-class treatment option from Phathom Pharmaceuticals that is now FDA-approved and commercially available, will be sure to bring comfort to anyone suffering from Erosive GERD/Acid Reflux.

According to Dr. Howden, VOQUEZNA demonstrated superiority over the commonly prescribed form of treatment (PPIs), including: faster healing in patients with more difficult-to-treat Erosive GERD, more durable healing in all patients, including those with more severe disease, 24-hour heartburn relief on most days in a large clinical trial and better maintenance of healing over a six-month period.

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About 7 million adults with Erosive GERD are diagnosed and treated with a prescription medicine (usually a PPI) annually. Many of these patients are dissatisfied with their current treatment, which is why VOQUEZNA is such an important milestone for the GI community.

Happy eating!

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