The Dangers of Taking PPIs for Acid Reflux


Posted On Jan 9 2015 by

Using medications to suppress stomach acid results in reduced health and significant side effects that can be life threatening. One of the biggest misconceptions I encounter from patients about acid reflux is that it results from having too much stomach acid. or intestinal fluids into the tube connecting the throat and the stomach (esophagus ). This may be due to a brief relaxation of the muscular opening at the base of the esophagus (referred to as the sphincter ), as well as chronic vomiting. Gastroesophageal reflux is fairly common in dogs, and may occur at any age, although younger dogs are at greater risk.

GERD is often diagnosed simply by finding no improvement in heartburn symptoms in response to lifestyle changes and acid reflux medication. Ambulatory 2 pH monitoring was performed in patients with nocturnal asthma symptoms but no clinical evidence of GERD. Abnormal esophageal acid exposure was documented in 62% of this cohort. In this cohort, 71% of patients reported using over-the-counter medications for their nocturnal symptoms, but only 29% considered this approach “completely satisfactory.” Forty-one percent of patients in this group reported using prescription medications for their nocturnal GERD, and although 49% of these patients had complete symptom relief with this regimen, a full 51% remained dissatisfied with their symptom control. This study clearly demonstrates that nighttime symptoms of GERD are common and are often difficult to treat with current medical therapy.

The esophagus functions as an antegrade pump, the LES as a valve, and the stomach as a reservoir. The abnormalities that contribute to GERD can stem from any component of the system.

A suggested approach to the use of antisecretory therapy in the treatment of GERD, based on symptoms at presentation. Antacids are a class of medications that act by directly neutralizing gastric acid. The use of antacids dates back to the ancient Greeks, who used ground coral powder (calcium carbonate) as a remedy for dyspepsia.

This population-based cohort study is a good type of study for looking for links between factors (such as PPIs and stomach cancer), but can’t prove that one factor causes the other. But most articles also included expert comments stating that the absolute risk of cancer was low and the study doesn’t prove PPIs are the cause of the risk. Most of the UK media reports seized on the higher risk figures reported in the study, which applied only to people taking PPIs daily for at least 3 years.

That means people with more stomach acid are less likely to develop symptoms of acid reflux. Left untreated, acid reflux disease can lead to many issues; it can affect the lungs/vocal cords, the nose/sinuses, and can even lead to esophageal cancer. Watch otolaryngologist Jonathan Aviv, MD, explain why it’s vital to treat acid reflux disease. There are many ways in which smoking can lead to heartburn, such as decreasing the amount of saliva you produce, causing your stomach to empty more slowly, and creating more stomach acid. Smoking cessation is probably one of the best things you can do to lessen your symptoms or lower your risk of developing reflux in the first place.

difficile infection, and can increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies, bone fractures, and other complications. Precancerous changes to the esophagus (Barrett’s esophagus). Damage from acid can cause changes in the tissue lining the lower esophagus. These changes are associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer. An open sore in the esophagus (esophageal ulcer).

This definition applies to symptoms and does not correlate with pharmacologic refractoriness, that is, failure of the drugs to suppress or abolish acid secretion. The term loosely used suffers from the additional limitation that it is meaningless unless twice-daily dosing with 40 mg of a PPI is specified; 40 mg of esomeprazole cannot be taken as equivalent to 10 or 20 mg of rabeprazole.

Genetic factors also appear to play a big role in a patient’s susceptibility to Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition caused by very severe gastroesophageal reflux. One study found that GERD, Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal cancer all have a significant genetic overlap. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) reduce the amount of acid made by the stomach and are used to treat acid reflux and stomach ulcers. A drug commonly used to treat acid reflux is linked to a more than doubled risk of developing stomach cancer, researchers have claimed.

As many as four in 10 Americans have symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and many depend on P.P.I.’s like Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium to reduce stomach acid. These are the third highest-selling class of drugs in the United States, after antipsychotics and statins, with more than 100 million prescriptions and $13.9 billion in sales in 2010, in addition to over-the-counter sales. Another serious condition that can occur is Barrett’s esophagus, which develops in some people who have chronic GERD. In this condition, damage to the esophageal lining — for example by acid reflux — can cause abnormal changes to cells in the area. People with Barrett’s esophagus may be at risk of developing cancer of the esophagus.

For maximum results, I recommend that people try a 4 week elimination of these foods when starting a reflux recovery program. After 4 weeks, they can be added back in, one at a time, for a more definitive answer regarding their possible role in reflux symptoms. Other foods may also be of concern, but gluten and dairy are the most likely culprits. In my experience, the bigger issue that connects foods to reflux is food allergy.

Stage I GERD is defined as intermittent heartburn (up to three episodes per week) without complicating factors; this level of disease is effectively treated with lifestyle modifications, over-the-counter antacids, and/or nonprescription H2RAs. Stage II disease is characterized by more frequent symptoms (more than three times per week).

When the LES relaxes too often or for too long, stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. This causes vomiting or heartburn. If they just have acid reflux or heartburn and nothing else they can try over-the-counter things and see if that helps.

Yet for all the $9.5 billion worth of PPIs prescribed in physicians’ offices and sold in drugstores each year, doctors aren’t completely sure if pH levels in the stomach are the primary cause of GERD, even though that’s what they’re overwhelmingly treating. There could be other, more mechanical, factors at play, like weakness in the sphincter, which closes off the stomach from the esophagus, delayed gastric emptying, or hiatal hernia, says Nipaporn Pichetshote, a gastroenterologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. For people who have laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), which is reflux that only presents symptoms in the throat like throat clearing and globus, it’s even less clear what causes it, how to diagnose it, or if PPIs are effective at all in treating it. If you go to your doctor complaining of any of these symptoms, including the more vague ones, like coughs or throat clearing, you’ll probably be written a prescription for proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These meds decrease acid levels by dramatically reducing acid production through glands in the lining of your stomach.

dangers of acid reflux

Last Updated on: September 27th, 2019 at 12:24 am, by


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