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The potential therapeutic effect of melatonin in gastro-esophageal reflux disease

Posted Feb 27 2010 12:00am

By Tharwat S Kandil and Colleague

Background

Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) defined as a condition that develops when the reflux of stomach contents causes troublesome symptoms and/or complications. Many drugs are used for the treatment of GERD such as omeprazole (a proton pump inhibitor) which is a widely used antiulcer drug demonstrated to protect against esophageal mucosal injury. Melatonin has been found to protect the gastrointestinal mucosa from oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen species in different experimental ulcer models. The aim of this study is to evaluate the role of exogenous melatonin in the treatment of reflux disease in humans either alone or in combination with omeprazole therapy.

Methods


36 persons were divided into 4 groups (control subjects, patients with reflux disease treated with melatonin alone, omeprazole alone and a combination of melatonin and omeprazole for 4 and 8 weeks) Each group consisted of 9 persons. Persons were subjected to thorough history taking, clinical examination, and investigations including laboratory, endoscopic, record of esophageal motility, pH-metry, basal acid output and serum gastrin.

Results

Melatonin has a role in the improvement of Gastro-esophageal reflux disease when used alone or in combination with omeprazole. Meanwhile, omeprazole alone is better used in the treatment of GERD than melatonin alone.

Conclusion

The present study showed that oral melatonin is a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of GERD. It is an effective line of treatment in relieving epigastric pain and heartburn. However, further studies are required to confirm the efficacy and long-term safety of melatonin before being recommended for routine clinical use.

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