In the primary care setting, gastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD) and asthma are common reasons for consultation. Arecent study, conducted by Ana Ruigómez, MD, PhD, et al,investigated the temporal relationship between first diagnosesof GERD and of asthma in general practice. The UK GeneralPractice Research Database was used to identify patients witha first diagnosis of GERD (n = 5653) or of asthma (n = 9712).Investigators compared the incidence of GERD diagnosisamong asthma patients and control participants with the incidenceof asthma diagnosis among GERD patients and controlparticipants (mean follow-up, 3 years).
The incidence rates of GERD and of asthma among the controlswere 4.4 and 3.8 per 1000 person-years, respectively. Therelative risk for asthma in patients with a new diagnosis of GERDwas 1.2, and the relative risk of GERD among patients with anew diagnosis of asthma was 1.5. Previous use of prescriptionmedications for asthma and GERD had no significant effects onthe risk for GERD and asthma, respectively. These results suggestthat patients with asthma are at a significantly increased riskfor GERD, especially in the first year after diagnosis. The relativerisk for asthma among patients with GERD was not significant.(The findings were reported in Chest, July 2005.)