Current Treatment

6.27.5.1 Antacids

The earliest drugs used to combat gastric acid were antacids such as chalk (CaCO3) or baking soda (NaHCO3), used by the ancient Greeks. The problem with these drugs was that they only elevated the luminal gastric pH, and did not affect the pH of the gastric epithelium, and, given the capacity of the stomach to secrete 1.5 l of 1 N HCl per day, had to be taken very frequently. With the dawn of modern medical practice in the nineteenth century, use of these agents was combined with bed rest and a bland diet. These measures were largely ineffective when more serious consequences such as perforation or hemorrhage occurred.18 Nevertheless, antacids continue to be used for symptomatic relief, and public awareness has significantly increased in the western world as to the need for medical treatment for frequent upper GI tract symptoms.

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