Antibiotics the key in area man's treatment

June 27, 1997

By Kate Coleman

Staff Writer

Patrick Cassner was hospitalized with severe stomach pain when he was 20 years old. Everyone told him it was stress, but he didn't believe that was the cause, he says.

An X-ray showed a stomach ulcer. He was put on a restricted diet - a lot of liquids, no caffeine, no alcohol, no nicotine. Tagamet, a medication designed to reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach, was prescribed. The ulcer cleared up, but he was hospitalized when it recurred five years later and again when the same place in his stomach was inflamed another time after that.

More than 30 years ago, doctors recommended bland diets for ulcer patients, but diet never worked as ulcer treatment, according to Dr. Robert J. Trace Jr., a Hagerstown gastroenterologist.


People were told to avoid onions, pizza and spicy food because effective treatments were unavailable, Trace says.

Experiencing symptoms again last fall, Cassner, 44, chief engineer at Grove Worldwide in Shady Grove, Pa., says he treated himself with Tagamet, now available over the counter. Then he read an article about a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, that is believed to be reponsible for a majority of ulcers.

An endoscopy revealed that Cassner, a resident of Chambersburg, Pa., indeed was infected with H. pylori. Treatment with antibiotics to kill infection in combination with medications to reduce the production of stomach acid has cured his ulcer.

What does Cassner eat now? "Everything and anything I want."

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