Sunday, May 29, 2016
Brief Talk Gets Patients in Control of Reflux
Ninety seconds of education appeared to work wonders in getting heartburn patients to optimize their use of the proton pump inhibitor omeprazole, researchers reported here at the annual Digestive Disease Week conference. Patients who were given instruction in the medicine's use by their doctor had a mean 4-point drop in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Symptom Assessment Scale Mean Symptom Score after 6 weeks compared with just minor change among patients who were not given the educational talk (P<0.01), said Abhijeet Waghray, MD, of MetroHealth System/Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Similarly, significant declines in symptom frequency and symptom severity were seen among those patients who had the intervention, Waghray said at his poster presentation. And what was the intervention that produced these results? Patients were told they they had to take their medication 15 to 30 minutes before their first meal of the day in order for omeprazole to be effective. "It takes about 90 seconds to deliver the message and answer any questions," he told MedPage Today. In so-called OSCAR (Omeprazole Dosing and Symptom Control -- A Randomized Controlled Trial), 29 patients were given the quick educational lesson when they came to the office and complained that their treatment wasn't effective; 35 other patients were controls -- they where not provided with emphasis on how to take their medicine, but rather were essentially waitlisted to receive the talk a few weeks later. In the meantime, they were encouraged simply to keep taking omeprazole. Patients were eligible for the study if their experienced heartburn three or more times a week despite treatment with 20 mg omeprazole. They were observed for 2 weeks on the current regimen and then were randomized to received the pep talk on optimal dosing time or were left to continue their medication as they were taking it. Their dose was not changed, although people who were on different doses were not included in the study, Waghray said, to reduce the variables in conducting the research. Four weeks later their symptoms were analyzed. Those given the added instruction achieved an overall significant decrease in symptoms, reflected in reductions in both symptom severity and symptom frequency, Waghray said. After the 6-week trial, the patients who were not given instruction in the first round were provided the educational talk. Symptom assessment at 4 weeks showed reductions similar to those achieved in the first intervention group. About 40% of the patients in the study were men; about 37.5% were Caucasian and 48.4% were African. More than 40% of the patient population had attended college or were college graduates or had done post-graduate studies. Waghray said there were no statistically significant differences between the groups' demographics. "Proper education and proton pump inhibitor dosing should serve to reduce the burden of persistent GERD symptoms and related costs of uncontrolled disease," Waghray said. William Ravich, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, told MedPage Today, "It is absolutely true that people come in and are not taking their medication at the appropriate time. This has been the standard time for taking these drugs since they were introduced decades ago. Either doctors don't pay enough attention to educating the patient or the patient ignores it. "It is very difficult to take medication a half hour before breakfast," said Ravich, who was not involved with the study. "I have trouble taking medicine on any regular schedules. So I think this has to be reinforced, and I think this study justifies the original recommendations for taking the drugs."
Posted by Dr. Walid Y. Farah at 8:35 AM