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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Barrett esophagus

*

* Not a rare disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • Barrett syndrome
  • Barrett ulcer
  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Chronic peptic ulcer and esophagitis syndrome
  • Columnar-like esophagus
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Treatment

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How might Barrett esophagus be treated?

The treatment of Barrett esophagus largely depends on the severity of the condition as determined by the level of dysplasia seen on biopsy. In people with no dysplasia or low-grade dysplasia, treatment is often focused on easing the signs and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can cause further damage to the esophagus. This may include certain medications and lifestyle modifications such as avoiding smoking; eliminating food and drinks that trigger heartburn; raising the head of the bed while sleeping; and/or avoiding late night snacking. Periodic endoscopy may also be recommended to monitor Barrett esophagus as other treatments may be indicated if the condition advances.[1][2]

Because high-grade dysplasia is thought to be the final step before cells change into esophageal cancer, more aggressive treatments are typically recommended. These may include:[1][3][[2]
  • Endoscopic resection - an endoscope is used to remove damaged cells
  • Endoscopic ablative therapies - different techniques such as photodynamic therapy or radiofrequency ablation are used to destroy the dysplasia in the esophagus. In photodynamic therapy, abnormal cells are destroyed by making them sensitive to light, while radiofrequency ablation uses heat to remove abnormal esophagus tissue.
  • Surgery - the damaged part of the esophagus is removed and the remaining portion is attached to the stomach

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases' (NIDDK) Web site offers more specific information on the treatment and management of Barret esophagus. Please click on the link to access this resource.
Last updated: 7/10/2015

References
  1. Mark H Johnston, MD. Barrett Esophagus. Medscape Reference. April 2014; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/171002-overview.
  2. Barrett's Esophagus. Mayo Clinic. August 2014; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/barretts-esophagus/basics/definition/con-20027054?p=1.
  3. Barrett's Esophagus. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. November 2014; http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/barretts-esophagus/Pages/overview.aspx.


GARD Video Tutorial

  • Finding Treatment Information - A video developed by GARD Information Specialists that explains how you can find information about treatment for a rare disease.

    Finding Treatment Information

Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • The Centers for Mendelian Genomics program is working to discover the causes of rare genetic disorders. For more information about applying to the research study, please visit their website.
  • ClinicalTrials.gov lists trials that are studying or have studied Barrett esophagus. Click on the link to go to ClinicalTrials.gov to read descriptions of these studies.

Medical Products

The medication(s) listed in the table(s) below have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of this condition. The FDA Office of Orphan Products Development designates "orphan products" for those that treat rare diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 Americans. The table(s) below may not be an exhaustive list of drugs or products used to treat this condition. There may be other products available that are not considered orphan products. To search for all FDA approved drugs, visit Drugs@FDA. You can find orphan products used to treat other conditions by searching the Orphan Drug Product Designation database.


Generic Name Porfimer sodium
Trade Name
(Manufacturer Name)
Photofrin®
(Axcan Pharma)
Indication
The FDA has approved this product to be used in this manner.
For the ablation of high-grade dysplasia in Barrett's esophagus patients who do not undergo esophagectomy
More Information about this product Drug Information Portal

Other Names for this Disease
  • Barrett syndrome
  • Barrett ulcer
  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Chronic peptic ulcer and esophagitis syndrome
  • Columnar-like esophagus
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.