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The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA) has increased more rapidly than any other cancer (with the exception of malignant melanoma) in the United States over the past 30 years. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the strongest risk factor for the development of Barrett’s esophagus, which in turn leads to the rise of most EA’s. In a large portion of persons with sleep disorders, perhaps as high as 30%, GERD is a major causal or contributing factor. It has been proposed that the use of hypnotics for the treatment of sleep disorders may exacerbate the damaging effects of refluxate on the esophageal epithelium by reducing the frequency and effectiveness of normal clearance mechanisms (figure 1).



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