I’ve been plagued by nocturnal acid reflux (Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease – GORD, or GERD in the US, where they omit the initial o in oesophageal), on and off for the better part of 30 years, but in the last 2 years it’s become a huge problem. GERD and COPD frequently occur together, and the former is a massively exacerbating factor in the latter, not to mention agonisingly painful when the refluxed gastric acid is inhaled. It damages the lungs, too, and frequently results in an infection.
The standard treatment for GORD is proton-pump inhibitor drugs (PPIs – Losec, Protium etc), but they’re far from a perfect solution, and for some years now I’ve had to sleep on a bed wedge, to elevate my head and shoulders, which is no fun at all.
For most of my life, since my teens, I’ve also suffered from chronic gastric hyper-acidity and heartburn, not to mention ulcers, and have pretty much lived on antacids. In the nineties I found a product called Altacite Plus, a liquid antacid far better than any chalky tablet, and cheap, too, at £3.28 for 500ml (still the same price, though I have been charged £3.46 – still cheap). It’s also worth noting that it’s as least as good as the hideously expensive Gaviscon range which, for me at least, are vile to take and hugely overpriced – well, they have to pay for all that TV advertising somehow. Personally, I find it better than the specific Gaviscon product for acid reflux.
Anyway, I was eventually prescribed PPIs, which dealt with the hyper-acidity/heartburn problem and I stopped buying Altacite Plus. However, as I said, GORD has worsened dramatically over the last couple of years, and about 6 months ago I remembered Altacite Plus, and bought myself a bottle (NB – some pharmacies seem not to stock it routinely, but it’s easily available and they can order it for you – takes about 48 hours for my local pharmacy). Tip – once opened, keep Altacite Plus in the fridge, it keeps much longer.
I took a dose (no idea how much, I just took a small swig from the bottle – if that sort of thing worries you, take 10ml), at bedtime every night, chased with a sip of water to flush away the chalky aftertaste (it’s not unpleasant but, in bed, it tends to linger otherwise), and that put an end to the GORD events almost entirely. Then it slowly dawned on me that it HAD stopped entirely, about three weeks ago.
Since then I’ve stopped taking Altacite Plus (I still have some in the fridge, just in case), though I’ve retained the bed wedge, at least for now, and my GORD hasn’t recurred, so far at least, not even when I’ve had a few beers, which could always be relied upon to make things worse. I’m still taking my PPIs, though – stopping them would be a seriously bad idea.
So, if you have problems with GERD, I would strongly recommend giving Altacite Plus a try – I can’t guarantee you’ll get the same excellent results as I did, but given its low price, it’s got to be worth a try. I don’t, unfortunately, know if it’s available outside the UK, though it probably is in mainland Europe, but you can check your local availability by emailing the manufacturer, here.