At the convention of the American College of Gastroenterology in North Carolina, where gastroenterologists from different countries met, it was possible to talk about the progress of medicine in terms of treatment and drugs.
dr. Ahmed Morales, gastroenterologist and editorial advisor of Revista Medicina y Salud Pública. Photo: Journal of Medicine and Public Health.
At the convention of the American College of Gastroenterology, in North Carolina, United States of America, which was held on October 22nd with the participation of various gastroenterologists from the continent, the progress in treatment alternatives for patients with esophagitis (a condition that affects the tube that extends from the throat to the stomach) and pancreatic insufficiency (decrease in the amount or activity of pancreatic enzymes to a level that is insufficient to maintain normal digestive processes).
To this end, in an interview with the Journal of Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Ahmed Morales, gastroenterologist and specialist in inflammatory bowel diseases, spoke about different treatments for patients with pancreatic insufficiency and new pharmacological alternatives for esophagitis.
In the past, esophagitis was treated with medications to reduce stomach acid in case of reflux, as well as antibiotics to treat infection and medications to protect the lining of the esophagus and thereby treat damage caused by pills.
“Medications that existed before, such as omeprazole, protonix, were from this generation of drugs that attack the acid pump. These drugs, in six years, will be a thing of the past; the new generation will monopolize the market, they already attack acid and suppress it more effectively,” he explains he.
And, while these drugs have been very helpful over the years in providing treatment and quick fixes for patients, it is also true that they can have various side effects that have been discovered over the years.
“These drugs are characterized by the fact that they do not attack the acid pump, but go directly to the acid, improving statistics on conditions such as esophagitis and symptoms of bloating, regurgitation, among others,” he concludes.
This medicine belongs to a class called potassium-competitive acid blockers (PCABs). Vonoprazan works by reducing the amount of acid produced in the stomach.
Currently, the drug is not used in Puerto Rico because, according to Dr. Morales, there is still no medical or pharmaceutical agent distributing it. Also, the expert added that it can only be available to patients who receive a doctor’s prescription.
Side effects are basic to other drugs, such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, among others. A doctor should be consulted when these symptoms worsen or persist.
On the other hand, the expert noted that as an alternative for patients with eosinophilic esophagitis, an inflammatory and allergic condition of the esophagus, a subcutaneous injection is prescribed, which enables “attacking the inflammatory components of the disease, alleviating symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, and improving the appearance of the esophagus.”
Advances in endoscopic treatment
Currently, patients with pancreatic insufficiency are prescribed drugs to treat poor digestion. However, as part of the developments that the gastroenterologist commented on in the conversation, there is talk of a combination of these medical treatments and endoscopic treatments.
Pancreatic insufficiency is basically when the pancreas secretes digestive enzymes, when you eat, this pancreas secretes these enzymes and they help you break down food so you can absorb it properly.
“Patients who have pancreatic insufficiency cannot secrete these enzymes and cannot digest food properly, eventually they cannot absorb it and have serious problems such as diarrhea, digestion, malnutrition, weight loss”.
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