Brian E. Lacy, PhD, MD, and colleagues evaluated physician-prescribingpractices in the treatment of gastroesophageal refluxdisease (GERD), and their findings were recently reported in theJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology (July 2005). Questionnaireswere designed to elicit demographic data (age, sex, degree, specialty,practice setting, years in practice, community served) andinformation relating to the evaluation and treatment of GERD.Randomly selected healthcare professionals included practicinggastroenterologists, internists, and family physicians in Maryland.
Completed, returned questionnaires (n = 214) were nearlyequally distributed among the 3 specialty groups. A total of 82%of the respondents were male; 60% had practiced more than 15years, and 6% had practiced 4 years or fewer. It was found thatage, specialty, number of years in practice, and practice settingsignificantly influence how physicians evaluate and treatpatients with GERD. For example, older physicians prescribemore proton pump inhibitors, specialists are more likely to recommendupper endoscopy, family physicians request a bariumswallow more often, and physicians in the academic setting aremore likely to use step-down therapy.