Could a key to better management of reflux symptoms already lie on shelves?

Around 1 in 10 Australians have been diagnosed with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)1 and as the gold-standard therapy for moderate to severe symptoms,2 proton-pump inhibitors are widely used.3 However, after a short trial (4 to 8 weeks), the treatment should be reviewed and an attempt to step-down/off therapy trialled.2 Yet in practice, many patients may not attempt to step-down/off their PPI dose.4

Something to keep in mind is that there’s over the counter (OTC) treatments available to help with symptoms. A systematic review and meta-analysis of available studies showed an existing OTC treatment (alginate-based) is 4 times more likely to resolve the symptoms of reflux than antacids or placebo (OR 4.42; 95% CI 2.45-7.97; p=0.001).5 In Australia the only alginate-based treatments available are the Gaviscon range. They have a different mechanism of action to antacids and acid-suppressing therapies as they are the only treatment that’s been shown to physically block reflux by forming a raft over the stomach contents.6

Gaviscon® Dual Action is for the relief of heartburn and indigestion. Liquids: Contains (per 10ml dose): 500mg sodium alginate, 213mg sodium bicarbonate, 325mg calcium carbonate. Tablets: Each tablet contains 250mg sodium alginate, 106.5mg sodium bicarbonate, 187.5mg calcium carbonate. Liquid sachets: Each sachet (10mL of oral liquid suspension) contains 500mg sodium alginate, 213mg sodium bicarbonate and 325mg calcium carbonate.

Gaviscon® Double Strength is for the relief of heartburn and indigestion. Liquids: Contains (per 10ml dose): sodium alginate 1000mg, potassium bicarbonate 200mg, calcium carbonate 200mg. Tablets: Each tablet contains 500mg sodium alginate, 267mg sodium bicarbonate and 160mg calcium carbonate.

References: 1. Miller G, Pan Y. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. AIHW 1998 to 2008. Available at: (accessed 25 February 2020). 2. Therapeutic Guidelines. Disorders of the oesophagus. eTG Complete, December 2019. 3. NPS MedicineWise. Proton pump inhibitors: PBS changes May 2019. Available at: (accessed 25 February 2020). 4. Coyle C et al. BJGP Open 2019; DOI: 10.3399/bjgpopen19X101651. 5. Leiman DA et al. Dis Esophagus 2017;30:1-9. 6. Rohof WO et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2013;11:1585-1591. 7. Reimer C et al. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2016;43:899-909.

®GAVISCON is a registered trademark of the Reckitt Benckiser Group of Companies. Level 47, 680 George St, Sydney 2000, NSW Australia. Prepared February 2020. RB0099


Previous Banned from practice until Nov 2021
Next Remove more red tape, says Twomey

NOTICE: It can sometimes take awhile for comment submissions to go through, please be patient.