• Dr. Hall explains acid reflux in light of Zantac recall

    The recent recall of the popular medication ranitidine has caused a great deal of confusion over the reasons for the recall as well as alternative treatment options. The drug, well-known under the brand name Zantac, is used to relieve and prevent heartburn and is available in over the counter (OTC) and prescription strength.

    According to Board Certified General Surgeon Keneth Hall, MD, FACS, the United States Food and Drug Administration recently recommended a recall due to concerns that the drugs contained a higher than acceptable level of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory testing.

    HeartburnDr. Hall states that although the drug has been recalled, there have been no reported cases of cancer to date due to the use of ranitidine. “Patients should contact their primary care provider to seek a suitable alternative,” he said. “There are numerous other drugs which treat the same conditions, and there are also surgical interventions which could result in the elimination of pharmaceutical intervention altogether.”

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. Many people, including pregnant women, suffer from heartburn or acid indigestion caused by GERD.

    “GERD is simply a reflux of gastric content into the esophagus and can cause quite a bit of pain and discomfort,” Dr. Hall explains. “It is important to prevent or control symptoms because over time, the acid reflux can wear away at the lining of the esophagus and lead to further complications including esophageal cancer.”

    Approximately 60 million people in the US alone suffer from GERD, which is most commonly managed through medication. Dr. Hall points out that a number of patients can benefit from surgical intervention. “Patients with long-standing symptoms or other co-morbidities such as obesity, diaphragmatic hernias or hiatal hernias may not be able to manage their condition through pharmaceuticals alone,” he said. “For those patients, surgical repair is an excellent option.”

    Dr. Hall has nearly 15 years of extensive, highly specialized training in surgery, including all types of complex hernia repair procedures.

    Dr. Hall recommends that patients who have been living with symptoms for a significant period of time or those wishing to explore the elimination of pharmaceutical management schedule a consultation through their primary care physician.

    Dr. Hall’s office is located at 267 Avery Lane, Suite 300, at the Griffiss Business & Technology Park in Rome. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hall, please call the office at 315.356.7770. Imaging studies are not required prior to consultation.