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Gastroesophageal Reflux Drugs

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These drugs are used to treat Gastroesophageal Reflux, the backward flow of stomach contents into the Esophagus.

The drug Cisapride is used to treat nighttime heartburn resulting from Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). In this condition, food and stomach juices flow backward from the stomach into the esophagus, the part of the digestive tract through which food passes on its way from the mouth to the stomach.

Normally, a muscular ring called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to allow food into the stomach and then closes to prevent the stomach's contents from flowing back into the esophagus. In people with GERD, this muscular ring is either weak or it relaxes at the wrong times. The main symptom is heartburn - a burning sensation centered behind the breastbone and spreading upward toward the neck and throat.

Cisapride works by strengthening the lower Esophageal Sphincter and making the stomach empty more quickly. This shortens the amount of time that the esophagus comes in contact with the stomach contents. Other drugs, such as H2-blockers are sometimes prescribed to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach.

Cisapride is available only with a physician's prescription. Cisapride is sold in tablet and liquid forms.