Barrett’s Esophagus Treatments

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Wed, 12/14/2011

Barrett’s esophagus treatments are by a medication to treat the underlying cause “GERD.” Sometimes it suggests Barrett s esophagus surgery.

Barrett’s Esophagus Treatments

Currently, there is no medication to reverse Barrett's esophagus. However, it is considered that treating GERD may slow down the progress of Barrett’s esophagus and its complication.

Barrett’s Esophagus Medications

A certain category of medications that reduce stomach acid secretions can help stop the progression for Barrett’s esophagus; some such medications are:

  • Take antacids after meals and at bedtime
  • Histamine H2 receptor blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), AcipHex (rabeprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole) and Nexium (esomeprazole) taken once or twice a day. All of these are equally effective despite some deceptive advertising.
  • Other acids reducing medications are Zantac, Pepcid, Axid, and Tagamet can help.
  • Reglan (metoclopramide) is a drug that can strengthen the Lower Esophageal Spincter and thus stops development of this condition.

Barrett’s Esophagus Surgery

Certain patients with GERD may need surgery to strengthen the LES. This type of surgery called as fundoplication performing by laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is minimally invasive surgery, performed with a tiny incision at the naval and a few needle points in the upper abdomen.


A diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus requires regular monitoring by a physician. While it is thought that controlling GERD reduces the risk of developing cancer, this has not yet been definitely proven. Therefore, the physician must perform regular endoscopy exams and biopsies to look for dysplasia. Just how frequent these exams are repeats depends on how far the disease has advanced. If cancer is finding, surgery to remove the lower esophagus is usually necessary. Physicians often recommend this procedure when high-grade dysplasia is present, to prevent the cancer likely to occur.

Barrett’s Esophagus Endoscopic Therapy

Several limited invasion’s endoscopic treatments are available to treat Barrett’s esophagus and severe dysphasia. During these treatments, the Barrett's lining is destroying or cut out a portion of the dysplasia lining. The purpose of this treatment is to encourage the formation of normal esophageal tissue to replace the destroyed Barrett's lining.

  • Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) utilizes a photosensitizer (Photofrin) and a light source (Laser). Inject photofrin and use light source to activate the light sensitizer to produce selective destruction of Barrett’s tissue. Some complication of PDT therapy includes chest pain, nausea, sensitivity to sun for few weeks and esophageal strictures.
  • Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR) is a procedure to remove cancerous or other abnormal tissues (lesions) from the digestive tract. It involves lifting of the Barrett's lining and injecting a solution under it or applying suction to it and slowly cutting it off. Then remove the lining through the endoscope. Complications of EMR may include bleeding or tearing of the esophagus.

In sometimes if the Barrett’s condition is severe (dysplasia), then it is recommending to surgically remove most of the esophagus if the patient is healthy enough to tolerate a surgical procedure. Most of the people with Barrett's esophagus are older and have other medical problems that make surgery unadvisable and so consider less invasive endoscopic treatments.

Surgery immediately after diagnosis of severe dysplasia may provide best chance for a proper cure. The type of surgery varies, but mostly involves removal of affected portion of the esophagus by pulling a portion of the stomach up into the chest to attach it to the remaining portion of the esophagus.

Barrett’s Surveillance for Dysplasia and Cancer

Once diagnose as Barrett’s then periodic endoscopic examinations and biopsy is needs to look for early-warning signs of cancer. This approach called as surveillance.

Usually, before esophageal cancer development, precancerous cells appear in the Barrett's tissues. This precancerous condition called as dysplasia and can see only through a biopsy. Detecting and treating dysplasia in time can help prevent cancer from developing.