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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Medical Specialties & Departments > Acid Reflux Treatment

Acid Reflux Treatment Cost


How Much Does Acid Reflux Treatment Cost?

 
low costOver-the-Counter Medications: $4-$25average costPrescription Medications: $24-$400+high costSurgery: $10,000-$25,000+

Acid reflux is a common condition in which bile or stomach acid flows backward into the esophagus, causing irritation. Patients who experience this problem chronically, with symptoms[1] such as searing chest pain occurring twice a week or more, may have acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)[2] .

Typical costs:

  • Occasional acid reflux can be treated with over-the-counter medications, which typically cost $4-$25, depending on the quantity and whether the patient buys a name brand or its generic equivalent. Common nonprescription drugs for acid reflux include antacids, such as Tums[3] , about $5 for 150 tablets; H-2-receptor blockers, such as cimetidine (Tagamet HB)[4] , $12 for 30 tablets; or proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole (Prilosec OTC)[5] , $13 for 14 tablets. Insurers do not typically pay for nonprescription medicines.
  • GERD patients seeking help for chronic symptoms would start with an office visit to a primary care physician, which is typically covered by health insurance. For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of a copay of $10-$50 or more, or coinsurance of 10-50% or more. For patients without health insurance, an office visit typically costs $50-$200 or more.
  • Prescription GERD drug prices vary, depending on the dose needed, how frequently the drug must be taken, and whether the medicine is available in generic form. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality[6] , prescription GERD drugs typically cost $24 - $271 for generics, and $142-$414 for brand name medications.
  • A doctor may prescribe one or more kinds of drugs to curb inflammation and manage symptoms, including prescription-strength H-2-receptor blockers such as ranitidine (Zantac), which in generic form typically costs $24 a month for 150 mg versus $273 a month for the same amount of the brand name version, and prescription-strength proton pump[7] inhibitors such as lansoprazole (Prevacid)[8] , $175 a month for 15 mg of the generic version and $212 for the same amount of the brand name version. For patients covered by health insurance, the typical out-of-pocket cost for drugs is a prescription drug copay can range from $5-$30 or more.
  • Surgery[9] may be an option for patients who do not find relief through more conservative treatments. The most common surgery for GERD is a nissen fundoplication[10] , in which the upper part of the stomach is wrapped around the esophagus and stitched into place. According to the Comprehensive Center for Laparoscopic Surgery, average hospital charges for fundoplication range from $10,000-$25,000 or more with a typical surgical fee of about $3,000. At Saint Elizabeth Regional Med Center[11] in Lincoln, NE, a fundoplication typically costs $25,190.
  • For patients covered by insurance, typical out-of-pocket costs for surgery would consist of coinsurance of 10%-40% of the procedure, for a total of $200 $2,000 or more, up to the yearly out-of-pocket maximum.
Related articles: EGD, X-Ray, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • According to the Mayo Clinic[12] , patients who experience occasional acid reflux may be able to curb symptoms with lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and avoiding alcohol and nicotine.
  • Doctors may be able to diagnose GERD based on the patient's symptoms alone, or may recommend diagnostic tests, such as an endoscopy or an X-ray of the upper digestive system.
  • Medication is typically the first line of treatment, but surgery and other procedures[13] , may be used if drugs don't help. Fundoplications, if necessary, are often done using a laparoscopic surgical technique with general anesthesia.
Additional costs:
  • Patients who undergo surgery may still need to take antacids afterward to control symptoms.
  • Because some medications may increase the risk of bone loss and bone fracture, a doctor may recommend taking a calcium supplement [14] . Calcium supplements typically cost $4-$25. For example 150 tablets of Caltrate[15] costs $14 for 150 tablets.
Discounts:
  • Outlets such as Costco[16] and Walmart[17] often sell prescription and over-the-counter drugs at significant savings. Walmart, for example, has a prescription drug program[18] that includes certain generic drugs at commonly prescribed dosages.
  • Many hospitals offer discounts of 30% of more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. At St. Joseph Hospital[19] in Orange, CA, for example, patients without health insurance may qualify for a 45% discount off billed charges. They'll also be offered an additional 10% discount if payment is made within 10 days of receiving a bill.
Shopping for acid reflux treatment:
  • The Mayo Clinic offers a list of tips[20] to help GERD patients prepare for doctor appointments.
  • Consumer Reports offers a guide[21] on GERD drug pricing, effectiveness and safety.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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External Resources:
  1.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/gerd/DS00967/DSECTION=symptoms
  2.  www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/what-is-acid-reflux-disease
  3.  www.drugstore.com/tums-antacidcalcium-supplement-assorted-fruit/qxp10650?catid=184249
  4.  www.drugstore.com/default.asp?catid=1
  5.  www.drugstore.com/prilosec-otc-acid-reducer-20-6mg-14-tablets/qxp83091?catid=184249
  6.  www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/ehc/products/165/756/gerd_consumer.pdf
  7.  www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000381.htm
  8.  www.rxlist.com/prevacid-drug.htm
  9.  www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20278784,00.html
  10.  www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/fundoplication-surgery-for-gastroesophageal-reflux-di...
  11.  tp.chi.acelogicus.net/nese/Default.aspx
  12.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/heartburn-gerd/AN00998
  13.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/gerd/DS00967/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
  14.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/calcium-supplements/MY01540/NSECTIONGROUP=2
  15.  www.drugstore.com/default.asp?catid=1
  16.  www.costco.com/
  17.  www.walmart.com/cp/pharmacy/5431
  18.  www.walmart.com/cp/1078664
  19.  www.sjo.org/For-Patients/Your-Hospital-Bill/Self-Pay-Discount-Program.aspx
  20.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/gerd/DS00967/DSECTION=preparing-for-your-appointment
  21.  www.consumerreports.org/health/resources/pdf/best-buy-drugs/PPIsUpdate-FINAL.pdf
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