Healthy Living

Why Aspiration Is an Invisible Danger in Cystic Fibrosis

Available medications may in fact make it worse

As to whether reflux medication should be used as soon as patients with cystic fibrosis begin experiencing reflux symptoms or as a last resource - “As I said earlier, we currently have no medication to stop the action of reflux. In many ways, taking these medications may actually make reflux worse because you don’t feel heartburn symptoms but most certainly are still refluxing. Also, part of what PPIs and H2 blockers do is lower acid. Part of the action of acid in digestive juices is to kill some proportion of germs that we swallow. If you are still refluxing (while taking PPIs) and you then aspirate some of this digestive ‘soup,’ you are actually aspirating more germs per aliquot of gastric contents. [But] you should definitely take a medication to help with heartburn symptoms or if you have been seen by a [gastro doctor] and they have diagnosed ulcer disease or Barrett’s esophagus,” stressed Dr. Huitt.