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I have the answer you've been seeking.

Your doctor was on the right track with GERD, but it's a form of GERD called Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR). You are only refluxing a little bit of acid, but it is refluxing all the way up the esophogous, and splashing your larynx, which has no natural protection against acid. The acid is coughing you to chronically dry cough.

Most small-town ENTs and gastros are not familiar with LPR. If you want the best medical treatment, you need to go to a major city ENT or gastro - the kind of doctor who has seen everything under the sun.

LPR is a lifelong, chronic condition once it begins, but in most cases it's treatable. Just as in treating heartburn (GERD), you need a Proton-Pump Inhibitor (PPI) to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. Less acid = less splashing. Prilosec is a PPI, and your doctor may have been on the right track when giving you the samples. Where he went wrong, is that LPR is never ever treated with 1 dose a day of a PPI. LPR requires double dosing of a PPI every day (for the rest of your life unless you take a chance on surgery). Also, Prilosec does not have the best reputation for treating LPR.

The PPIs to try for LPR are listed in the order of what works best, to what works least (based on my multi-year observations within the acid reflux community here):

1. Nexium
2. Aciphex
3. Prevacid
4. Zegerid
5. Prescription Prilosec (BRAND)
6. Protonix
7. Prilosec OTC.

Don't even bother with Prilosec OTC. It doesn't work for LPR at all.

I strongly encourage you to do some of your own research on LPR, using a search engine. Just search the term "laryngopharyngeal reflux", and you'll get lots of answers. There is also an active acid reflux message board here at healthboards that you can participate in. At least half the board has LPR.

Sorry you got it - it's a bummer.