Heartburn medications are often prescribed to people with poorly controlled asthma, however, the treatment has been found ineffective in reducing asthmatic symptoms, say researchers.
The study led by the American Lung Association's Asthma Clinical Research Centres has shown that heartburn medications do not help control asthma symptoms prescribed to those without significant heartburn.
The researchers found that participants who took esomeprazole (Nexium) had as many asthma episodes as participants who were given an inactive pill, or placebo.
"This study goes against the idea that mild or silent acid reflux contributes to uncontrolled asthma," New England Medical Journal quoted Dr Mario Castro, a Washington University pulmonary specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital who led the study in St. Louis as saying.
"It establishes that heartburn medications are not indicated for adults with uncontrolled asthma when they have mild or no symptoms of acid reflux," he added.
However, Castro said that the prescription heartburn medication is still indicated for those with severe heartburn and poorly controlled asthma because it might improve asthma control in some of these patients.
During the study, the researchers examined 412 patients who had poorly controlled asthma despite being treated with inhaled corticosteroids
However, they had either no or very mild acid reflux symptoms. Each participant was randomly assigned to receive either 80 milligrams of esomeprazole or a placebo daily.
In both the groups, episodes of poor asthma control occurred with similar frequency.
"Despite using four-times the typical dose of the heartburn medication, we achieved no improvement in asthma symptoms, control or exacerbation rates," said Castro.