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2019 | 73(6) | 38-49
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The role of an oral formulation of hyaluonic acid and chondroitin sulphate in the treatment of patients with laryngopharyngeal reflux

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Introduction: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have become an important breakthrough in the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, in patients with laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) – one of the extraesophageal variants of the disease – the efficacy of PPI is incomplete or limited and alleviation of symptoms requires additional medications. As of today, the importance of hyaluronic acid (HA) and chondroitin sulphate (CS) and their role in mucosal damage healing, most particularly within the larynx, is being highlighted.
Objective: The objective of the study was to assess the outcomes of treatment in LPR patients receiving a combination of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate (HA + CS) on a bioadhesive carrier.
Material and methods: A total of 51 patients (18 males and 33 females) aged 25–75 years and presenting with LPR symptoms further confirmed in a laryngovideoscopic examination, were included in the study. Patients were qualified for the study on the basis of reflux symptom index (RSI) of above 13 and reflux finding score (RFS) of above 7. Patients were recommended to use the HA + CS combination product for 14 days and were evaluated after this time.
Results: Symptoms suggestive of significant or severe problem (RSI of 4 or 5) before the treatment included: throat clearing (48 patients; 90.19%), hoarseness (29 patients; 56.86%) and cough after eating/cough while lying down (37 patients; 72.50%). After the treatment, patients reported a moderate impact of the above symptoms on their everyday functioning (P < 0.001). Symptoms such as pharyngeal mucus presence, acute cough, sensation of foreign body in the throat, while declared as moderate at baseline (score of 3) resolved to mild (score of 1) following the supportive treatment (P < 0.001). Total RSI after the treatment was assessed as borderline for LPR diagnosis (median 13, range 12–15). Although patients were not completely freed of their reflux symptoms, a significant reduction in symptoms was achieved in the entire study group. Prior to the treatment, the most common morphological changes within the larynx included redness/congestion, vocal fold edema and posterior commissure hypertrophy. These changes were observed in all patients. After the treatment, the RFS fell below the LPR diagnostic threshold (median 6, range 5–7). Compared to baseline values (median 9, range 8–10), significant improvement of laryngeal changes was observed in nearly the entire study group (N = 50; 98.04%) (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: The combination product consisting of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate on a bioadhesive acts locally to significantly reduce laryngopharyngeal reflux symptoms, particularly in patients with chronic cough, throat clearing, and hoarseness. In addition, by lining the laryngeal mucosa with a protective layer, the product facilitates better hydration as well as faster healing and regeneration of the mucosal membrane, thus leading to a reduction or resolution of morphological changes within the larynx.
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