Doctors at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., say they have found a new treatment for a fast-growing disease. Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) is an allergic inflammatory reaction of the esophagus. The symptoms for EE mimic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). New research shows a topical corticosteroid therapy is effective for patients with EE.
EE is caused by the presence of high levels of eosinophils. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that is not normally found in the esophagus and high levels can indicate an allergic response. EE can make digestion very painful for the patient. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic conducted a study to better understand EE and to determine if the treatment of topical corticosteroids is effective.
The study included 21 patients diagnosed with EE between 1999 and 2001. The patients included 17 men and four women ranging in age from 28 years old to 55 years old. All of the patients were treated with topical corticosteroids for six weeks. The patients swallowed the drug twice a day to coat the esophagus. Interviews were conducted with the patients after treatment and months later.
Researchers say the treatment was effective in all of the patients and lasted a minimum of four months. Researchers also say, though EE mimics the symptoms of GERD, their study found no association between the two disorders. The study concludes EE is a condition that, once diagnosed, can easily and effectively be treated with topical corticosteroid therapy.