Despite the huge number of people who suffer from its effects, evaluation and treatment of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) can vary widely, and the tools are far from perfect. Experts discussed their approach to LPR, shedding some light on many of the issues otolaryngologists face.
Moderator Seth Dailey, MD, chief of laryngology and voice surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, said that gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects approximately 40% of the population, with cost estimates ranging from $9 to $12 billion a year. Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) are the most costly prescribed medication in the U.S., he said. What’s more, the yearly cost of direct care for patients with LPR, including tests and medications, is five times what it is for patients with GERD, he said. (Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108:905-911.)
When it comes to evaluation and treatment by otolaryngologists, he said, reflux manifests itself in many forms, and a diagnosis can be difficult to nail down. Overdiagnosis is likely common, and there can be harmful side effects from treatment.