NERD is similar to GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), but is a somewhat less serious condition. Nonetheless, it is uncomfortable and can even be debilitating, so drug companies continue to seek better solutions. Advanced Research Institute is holding clinical trials in Sandy and Ogden, Utah, and Reno, Nevada, for drugs to treat NERD.
What Is NERD?
NERD causes heartburn but is considered less serious than GERD because it does not destroy the inner lining of the esophagus. In both cases, the valve at the bottom of the esophagus that is supposed to let food into your stomach and keep it there doesn’t work properly, and instead allows stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus causing a burning sensation (heartburn).
Upon endoscopic examination of GERD patients, doctors discover inflammation and irritation of the esophagus. This can evolve into esophagitis, ulcers and even bleeding ulcers. With NERD, this irritation is absent. However, some doctors believe that NERD is simply early-stage GERD.
Using medications that are currently widely available to treat NERD come with side effects, including an increased risk of osteoporosis, colon infections and heart attacks.