Recapping the AGA Drug Development Conference — What's next in treating upper GI disease?

At the American Gastroenterological Association's Drug Development Conference, industry experts gathered to discuss the future of treating upper gastrointestinal disease, GI & Hepatology News reports.

Here's what you should know.

1. Representatives of the FDA, pharmaceutical companies and patient advocacy groups joined AGA members to discuss new and emerging drugs treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease, eosinophilic esophagitis, gastroparesis and functional dyspepsia.

2. Marcelo F. Vela, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, talked about using potassium-competitive acid blockers instead of proton pump inhibitors as a first line of management in treating GERD, but the researchers have found no advantages over PPI yet. Another option is bile salt binders; although a trial is underway, there are no relevant findings published.

Alginate can treat GERD's acid pockets. A study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology showed the success of the treatment, although it was in a sample size of 16 patients.

Several other studies were presented including using lesogaberan, prokinetics paired with metoclopramide and redamipide. Although all have shown some level of effectiveness, the studies were all small in nature. Researchers halted the lesogaberan program because of side effects or insufficient efficacy findings.

Director of Health Economics & Outcomes Research at Parsippany-Troy Hills, N.J.-based Allergan Robyn Carson said the company redefined what GERD is as a means to redefine the scope of its research.

3. Research on treating eosinophilic esophagitisas as an antigen-driven disorder was also presented. Stuart Spechler, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, discussed how Eoe patients have a history of atopic disease and exhibit sensitization to food or aeroallergens.

Dr. Spechler urged researchers to stop attempting "to distinguish between EoE and GERD," saying the line of research isn't productive because the two diseases can coexists.

4. P. Jay Pasricha, MD, presented on emergency therapies for gastroparesis. There is an ongoing trial conducted by The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases examining aprepitant use to relieve nausea and vomiting. Dr. Pasricha urged researchers to focus on the "disease's biology."

5. On functional dyspepsia, Jan Tack, MD, from Belgium's University of Leuven, presented three ongoing studies. Two are investigating the use of acotiamide and the other is examining rikkunshito.

There is a study in Belgium planned on the efficacy of acotiamide and rikkunshito for intragastric pressure and another analyzing monoacylglycerol lipase inhibitors on intragastric pressure in patients with functional dyspepsia.

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