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In the primary care setting, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and asthma are common reasons for consultation. A recent study, conducted by Ana Ruigómez, MD, PhD, et al, investigated the temporal relationship between first diagnoses of GERD and of asthma in general practice. The UK General Practice Research Database was used to identify patients with a first diagnosis of GERD (n = 5653) or of asthma (n = 9712). Investigators compared the incidence of GERD diagnosis among asthma patients and control participants with the incidence of asthma diagnosis among GERD patients and control participants (mean follow-up, 3 years).
The incidence rates of GERD and of asthma among the controls were 4.4 and 3.8 per 1000 person-years, respectively. The relative risk for asthma in patients with a new diagnosis of GERD was 1.2, and the relative risk of GERD among patients with a new diagnosis of asthma was 1.5. Previous use of prescription medications for asthma and GERD had no significant effects on the risk for GERD and asthma, respectively. These results suggest that patients with asthma are at a significantly increased risk for GERD, especially in the first year after diagnosis. The relative risk for asthma among patients with GERD was not significant. (The findings were reported in Chest, July 2005.)