The Impact of Treatment for Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease on Health-Related Quality of Life: A Literature Review
Anne M. Rentz
Dennis A. Revicki
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is common in the general population and is diagnosed based on patient-reported symptoms and clinical tests. Although clinical tests are available, significant percentages of patients report symptoms of heartburn and reflux despite negative endoscopies, and 24-hour pH tests are not often used by primary-care physicians in diagnosis. Consequently, patient-reported symptoms and health-related QOL (HR-QOL) are important in assessing treatment outcome. HR-QOL is significantly impaired in patients with GORD, and HR-QOL is associated with symptom severity and changes in GORD-related symptoms. The objective of this literature review is to examine the impact of pharmacological treatment on HR-QOL in patients with GORD. Generic and disease-specific HR-QOL measures have been used in clinical trials to evaluate the impact of GORD on patient functioning and well-being. The Psychological General Well-Being (PGWB) Index and the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) have been used in several clinical trials of treatment for GORD and have consistently shown that HR-QOL improves with successful therapy. These trials have been conducted primarily with two pharmacological agents, omeprazole and ranitidine. On the Heartburn-specific Quality of Life questionnaire, patients treated with ranitidine reported better HR-QOL after treatment compared with placebo therapy. In two clinical trials where omeprazole and ranitidine were compared, patients treated with omeprazole reported significantly better HR-QOL (based on the PGWB Index) than those treated with ranitidine; however, 2 other trials did not detect significant differences between the treatments. Results from clinical trials using disease-specific measures (Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index [GIQLI] and Heartburn-specific Quality of Life questionnaire) demonstrate similar findings, supporting the association between treatment-related symptom resolution and improvements in HR-QOL. The GIQLI was used in a trial comparing pantoprazole and ranitidine, where results favoured pantoprazole therapy. Several studies have demonstrated that resolution of GORD symptoms is associated with improvement in HR-QOL. Although there is evidence that treatment for GORD does improve symptoms and HR-QOL outcomes, further research is needed to more completely understand the value of medical therapy for GORD.
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