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Lansoprazole and Obama: The curious case of the undiagnosed acid reflux

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Acid Reflux treatment

Only last week, President of the United States, Barack Obama, was diagnosed with acid reflux after complaining about a persistent sore throat. Whilst he was most likely prescribed with a course of Lansoprazole, I was intrigued by his pathway to diagnosis.

You may be wondering why I am writing about President Obama’s undiagnosed bout of acid reflux. It is not the most newsworthy story, and doesn’t really say much about anything (other than the fact that he might have indulged a little too much over thanksgiving, which you can hardly blame him for!). At most it’s amusing and just a little bit silly.

I was, however, quite interested by the manner in which President Obama was diagnosed and subsequently treated in comparison to the pathway to medicines access for someone like you or me.

Let me outline it for you, if I may.

1) President Obama’s sore throat complaint is heard by his personal team of medical experts
2) Doctor errs on the side of caution and sends President Obama for a CT scan
3) CT scan reveals the square root of nothing
4) Doctor more than likely prescribes President Obama with a course of Lansoprazole

Now, I realise that not everyone has immediate access to a personal doctor, and a team of medical professionals ready to perform scans for the slightest health concern. In reality, most steps in the above procedure are usually reserved for the absurdly rich and immensely powerful. For most people in the UK, just getting to see one medical professional is difficult enough, and getting an appointment with your GP can feel like a luxury in itself.

Whilst I would not personally complain with this level of healthcare, I would argue that for most, nay the majority of us, it is inconceivable. So what could you or I do if placed in a similar situation to President Obama, after hours with symptoms that just won’t go away?

Using an online pharmacy to order acid reflux medication

“How? Why? Surely not!” you may proclaim. Well, fear not, it’s not as radical an idea as it sounds.

The aforementioned symptoms, such as sore throats, are commonly associated with Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). It is a condition that occurs sporadically in a healthy person, has no long term consequences and is commonly treated with a short course of Lansoprazole.


To use an online pharmacy is simple enough. Fill out a medical questionnaire relating to your symptoms. Once it is checked by the prescriber, your order will be dispatched to you, with next-day delivery always an option.

Compare this with the process involved in going to your GP for an acute condition such as Acid Reflux, or an acute migraine.

I need say no more.

President Obama clearly would not have contemplated going to a pharmacy, whether it be an online pharmacy or on the high street, for some advice on an acute condition. As I mentioned, not everyone has the luxury of having medical experts waiting for you hand on foot. You do, however, have a wealth of healthcare resources available to you. In fact, I would argue that for certain minor health issues such as a migraine, acid reflux, or a common cold, your access to diagnosis and medication is equal to that of President Obama. Okay maybe not quite equal, but most certainly improving. That being said, pharmacies are becoming increasingly accessible for a range of issues, and online pharmacies can provide next-day access to medicines. You are also doing your part by positively affecting the resource burden on the NHS.

The moral of the story? Take some responsibility for your own healthcare and it may go some way to helping you feel that little bit more presidential.