I have written and spoken about the dangers of long term acid reflux medication use for years. Despite all of the side effects that the research has uncovered over the years regarding the dangers associated with these medications, medical doctors and pharmacies are still dispensing these drugs to millions of users every year for long term use.
Recently, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis released a new study that was published in the British Medical Journal that followed nearly 350,000 United States veterans which showed that use of proton pump inhibitors (Nexium, Protonix, Prevacid, Prilosec, Dexilant, etc.) is tied to a higher risk (nearly 25%) of premature death.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s) reduce the production of acid by the stomach by irreversibly blocking the actions of the enzyme H+/K+ ATPase that is located in the parietal cells of the stomach lining. This temporary decrease in acid production can help to allow the body to heal from ulcers present in the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.
In past articles, I have discussed other side effects of long term PPI usage including the potential increased risk of hypocalcemia & hypomagnesemia due to impaired nutrient absorption, Clostridium difficile infections, and pneumonia or Tuberculosis as a result of decreased resistance to infections, as well as an increased risk of cancer (stomach cancer) and other diseases.
According to health professionals, proton pump inhibitors and other acid reflux medications are often overprescribed and rarely de-prescribed. Often, the use of these medications is extended for long term durations without appropriate medical indication. In fact, studies suggest that between 50% 66% of users given these prescriptions are for “inappropriate indications where benefits of PPI use may not justify the risks for many users.”
My recommendation for all patients who suffer with acid reflux related conditions is to correct the underlying cause to their symptoms. We do this several ways which you can read more about here. In addition to these recommendations, I prescribe 2 natural supplements which help to correct the underlying cause to heartburn symptoms. Both Zypan (which assists stomach acid production) and Multizyme (enzymes to break food down).
If you suffer with any digestive related complaints and you are looking to get to the root cause of the problem then call Stanly Wellness Center at 980-355-7600 to schedule your FREE 15-minute consultation with Dr. Patrick Ess to see how he can help. We look forward to serving you and your families health.