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Gastroparesis Treatments

Unfortunately, treatment for gastroparesis is limited. There are few medications available, most of which treat symptoms of nausea, vomiting, pain, and reflux, but do not treat the underlying cause to help the stomach digest. For these reason, they are often ineffective. The FDA has been hesitant to approve motily drugs out of fear of cardiac related complications, although studies into this are not well substantiated. Zelnorm was recently pulled from the markey even though only .1 % out of 900,000 experienced any side effects, far less then the 3% who have complications from the commonly prescribed Ritalin.

Most people try to manage their GP through diet changes. Eating six small meals a day of high calorie foods is easiet on the stomach. In spite if this, a patient may still experience extreme symptoms. Some patients cannot even hold down small sips of fluid, while others do well on small pieces of fish, chicken, and potatoes.

When diet modification and medications do not work, more extreme options include tube feedings and IV nutrition. Certain surgical procedures may be performed to help with some gastroparesis related complications. The introduction of Enterra Therapy by Medtronic is currently the only surgical option actually geared towards helping the stomach digest food.

In the most extreme cases a full or partial gastersctomy may be necessary, or when the small bowel is also affected, a multi-visceral (4 or 5 organ) transplant may become the only remaining option.




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Updated Feb. 2009



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