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'It is great Newcastle is leading the way...Without research we would not know what could be done to help people like me' PS750,000 for experts to help cure throat problems.

Byline: Craig Thompson Health Reporter

EXPERTS in Newcastle have been awarded more than PS750,000 in a bid to help people across the UK living with persistent throat problems.

Ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists from the city's university have been handed the PS759,000 to look at whether the tablet, lansoprazole, can ease common throat complaints.

Voice changes, post nasal drip, dry cough, excess mucus, and throat clearing are all uncomfortable conditions that often develop later in life - but little research has been done to help tackle them.

The Trial of Pump Inhibitors in Throat Symptoms (TOPPITS) study is being spearheaded by Professor Janet Wilson at Newcastle University.

Professor Wilson, who has worked as a consultant ENT surgeon at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital for more than 20 years, said: "We see thousands of patients with a multitude of throat problems in our ENT clinics every year.

"Some come from other regions, or as far afield as Scotland.

"Our study is the first substantial trial to look at the effect of powerful antacids like lansoprazole, a "proton pump inhibitor", on throat symptoms. Some patients with throat problems can live with their symptoms for decades, this can be problematic and quite debilitating."

More than 300 patients with persistent throat symptoms are taking part in the trial, which is being coordinated by Sister Julia Scott and her NHS Research Nurse team in the ENT clinic at the Freeman Hospital.

Doctors believe the symptoms of throat problems are sometimes caused when acid from the stomach passes upwards and irritates the upper airway. Medics often treat these throat symptoms with traditional 'heartburn' remedies, most often by using a proton pump inhibitor. Lansoprazole is a common form of proton pump inhibitor which suppresses the stomach's production of gastric acids. It is very safe and is used in thousands of NHS patients with severe indigestion every month.

Grandfather-of-two Mark Wilson, of High Howdon, North Tyneside, has suffered with a persistent throat problem for more than a year after developing an uncomfortable feeling at the back of his throat.

The 56-year-old engineering worker said he welcomed the clinical trial as it is important more research is done to help those suffering from a variety of throat complaints.

Mr Wilson said: "I began to suffer throat problems over a year ago which made it very uncomfortable for me to swallow and I felt like I had a gobstopper at the back of my mouth.

"It's great that Newcastle is leading the way in this research as patients will benefit from the clinical trial.

"Without research we would not know what could be done in the future to help those with persistent throat problems."

The patients are divided into two groups - one receives the study medication, and the other a specially manufactured, identical, inactive capsule. Patients have been randomly allocated to receive 16 weeks' supply of either capsule.

The PS759,000 was awarded to the team from the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 1, 2015
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