The Pros and cons of PPIs (Anti-acid drugs)

Christmas is over and for some it was time to enjoy the food and drink in plenty! Unfortunately it may have left you with  some digestion problems and you may find yourself reaching in your pocket to use your new prescription of PPIs or an over-the-counter brand. The Christmas holidays is a common time to experience reflux , heartburn and indigestion. Many people will choose  this class of drug to provide fast relief.

However PPIs were never intended to be taken long term or for mild reflux. The OTC drugs were originally designed for short term relief and  prescribed medication is intended for severe symptoms and a clinical diagnosis of GERD or conditions like esophagitis.  If you have just started taking PPIs or find yourself crunching on a few anti-acid tablets a day then take a minute to know the pro’s and con’s of these drugs.

Pro’s

  • Fast short term relief from heartburn and reflux / GERD
  • Easy to take
  • Available OTC

Con’s

  • PPIs treat the symptoms not the cause.
  • Long term use increases risk of osteoporosis ,  low bone density and hip fractures in elderly
  • May lower calcium absorption
  • Increases risk of B12 and Iron deficiency because your stomach acid production is impaired and this also increases risk of small intestinal bacteria overgrowth
  • Can be difficult to stop taking PPIs due to a “rebound acid hypersecretion response” causing severe heartburn and reflux soon after after withdrawal. Studies that this is  withdrawal symptoms and not just the return of the original disease.
  • Can cause the symptoms it is supposed to treat. Refer to Proton-Pump Inhibitor Therapy Induces Acid-Related Symptoms in Healthy Volunteers After Withdrawal of Therapy 13 April 2009 Christina Reimer, Bo Sondergaard, Linda Hilsted, Peter Bytzer
    Gastroenterology July 2009 (Vol. 137, Issue 1, Pages 80-87.e1) or http://www.natap.org/2009/HIV/070409_02.htm
  • Long term use has been associated with causing Gastritis

 

Remember stomach acid is good for you. It protects you from nasty bacteria and it is essential for B12 and Iron synthesis.

 

 

 

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