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      Efficacy of alginate-based reflux suppressant and magnesium-aluminium antacid gel for treatment of heartburn in pregnancy: a randomized double-blind controlled trial

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      Scientific Reports
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          Abstract

          The aim of this study was to compare the therapeutic efficacy of alginate-based reflux suppressant and magnesium-aluminium antacid gel for treatment of heartburn in pregnancy. A double-blinded, randomized, controlled trial was conducted. One hundred pregnant women at less than 36 weeks gestation with heartburn at least twice per week were randomized to either alginate-based reflux suppressant or to magnesium-aluminium antacid gel. Details of heartburn were recorded before beginning the treatment and the second week of study. Primary outcome measure was the improvement of heartburn frequency after treatment and secondary outcome were the improvement of heartburn intensity, quality of life, maternal satisfaction, maternal side effects, pregnancy and neonatal outcomes. There was no difference between treatment and control groups in improvement of heartburn frequency (80% vs 88%, p = 0.275), 50% reduction of frequency of heartburn (56% vs 52%, p = 0.688), improvement of heartburn intensity (92% vs 92%, p = 1.000) and 50% reduction of heartburn intensity (68% vs 80% cases, p = 0.075). There were also no significant differences in quality of life, maternal satisfaction, maternal side effects, pregnancy and neonatal outcomes. Alginate-based reflux suppressant was not different from magnesium-aluminium antacid gel in the treatment of heartburn in pregnancy.

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          Review article: alginate-raft formulations in the treatment of heartburn and acid reflux.

          Alginate-based raft-forming formulations have been marketed word-wide for over 30 years under various brand names, including Gaviscon. They are used for the symptomatic treatment of heartburn and oesophagitis, and appear to act by a unique mechanism which differs from that of traditional antacids. In the presence of gastric acid, alginates precipitate, forming a gel. Alginate-based raft-forming formulations usually contain sodium or potassium bicarbonate; in the presence of gastric acid, the bicarbonate is converted to carbon dioxide which becomes entrapped within the gel precipitate, converting it into a foam which floats on the surface of the gastric contents, much like a raft on water. Both in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that alginate-based rafts can entrap carbon dioxide, as well as antacid components contained in some formulations, thus providing a relatively pH-neutral barrier. Several studies have demonstrated that the alginate raft can preferentially move into the oesophagus in place, or ahead, of acidic gastric contents during episodes of gastro-oesophageal reflux; some studies further suggest that the raft can act as a physical barrier to reduce reflux episodes. Although some alginate-based formulations also contain antacid components which can provide significant acid neutralization capacity, the efficacy of these formulations to reduce heartburn symptoms does not appear to be totally dependent on the neutralization of bulk gastric contents. The strength of the alginate raft is dependant on several factors, including the amount of carbon dioxide generated and entrapped in the raft, the molecular properties of the alginate, and the presence of aluminium or calcium in the antacid components of the formulation. Raft formation occurs rapidly, often within a few seconds of dosing; hence alginate-containing antacids are comparable to traditional antacids for speed of onset of relief. Since the raft can be retained in the stomach for several hours, alginate-based raft-forming formulations can additionally provide longer-lasting relief than that of traditional antacids. Indeed, clinical studies have shown Gaviscon is superior to placebo, and equal to or significantly better than traditional antacids for relieving heartburn symptoms. Alginate-based, raft-forming formulations have been used to treat reflux symptoms in infants and children, and in the management of heartburn and reflux during pregnancy. While Gaviscon is effective when used alone, it is compatible with, and does not interfere with the activity of antisecretory agents such as cimetidine. Even with the introduction of new antisecretory and promotility agents, alginate-rafting formulations will continue to have a role in the treatment of heartburn and reflux symptoms. Their unique non-systemic mechanism of action provides rapid and long-duration relief of heartburn and acid reflux symptoms.
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            Review article: the management of heartburn in pregnancy.

            Heartburn is a normal consequence of pregnancy. The predominant aetiology is a decrease in lower oesophageal sphincter pressure caused by female sex hormones, especially progesterone. Serious reflux complications during pregnancy are rare; hence upper endoscopy and other diagnostic tests are infrequently needed. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease during pregnancy should be managed with a step-up algorithm beginning with lifestyle modifications and dietary changes. Antacids or sucralfate are considered the first-line drug therapy. If symptoms persist, any of the histamine2-receptor antagonists can be used. Proton pump inhibitors are reserved for women with intractable symptoms or complicated reflux disease. All but omeprazole are FDA category B drugs during pregnancy. Most drugs are excreted in breast milk. Of systemic agents, only the histamine2-receptor antagonists, with the exception of nizatidine, are safe to use during lactation.
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              Alginate rafts and their characterisation.

              Alginate/antacid anti-reflux preparations are designed to provide symptom relief by forming a physical barrier on top of the stomach contents in the form of a neutral floating gel or raft. This study tested the in vitro effectiveness of a range of liquid products in forming rafts that were cohesive, buoyant, voluminous, resistant to reflux and durable under conditions of movement (resilient). The products tested had a wide range of acid neutralising capacities (ANCs). It was found that products with a high ANC and no calcium ion source formed rafts of low strength, weight and volume, which appeared more as floating precipitates than coherent gels. Products with a high ANC and a calcium ion source formed medium strength, weight and volume rafts. Products with a low ANC formed strong coherent rafts with medium to large weight and volume, and those with low ANC and a calcium ion source formed the strongest rafts. Products with stronger rafts were found to be more resilient and more resistant to reflux in an in vitro reflux model. Significant overall differences in raft buoyancy were found between products forming coherent rafts but these could not be related to the product formulation or amount of available carbon dioxide.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group
                2045-2322
                20 March 2017
                2017
                : 7
                : 44830
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University , Rama IV Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
                Author notes
                Article
                srep44830
                10.1038/srep44830
                5357839
                28317885
                73fabd9e-e278-49a8-9009-2a2d9999d157
                Copyright © 2017, The Author(s)

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                History
                : 07 December 2016
                : 14 February 2017
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