"Acid Reflux" Drugs Threaten Your Health in 7 Ways

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Ulcers hurt! That burning, gnawing pain will make you want to reach for your ulcer meds fast. But, wait a minute. Not so fast. Those drugs may be causing some really serious problems.

About one in ten of us know the pain of an ulcer all to well. As a result, ulcer medications have become some of the top selling drugs in the world. The very popular class of anti-ulcer drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) include bests sellers like Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid. These drugs are also commonly used to treat acid reflux syndrome. But here are seven reasons you may not want to let those drugs any where near your stomach.

1. They Increase Your Risk of Dementia

Incredibly, trying to cure your ulcer may increase your risk of dementia (Curr Med Chem 2018;25(18):2166-2174). People who take PPIs have a 44% increased risk of dementia (JAMA Neurol 2016;73(4):410-416). Another class of ulcer drugs, the histamine-2 receptor antagonists, like Pepcid, Zantac and Tagamet, have also been linked to a 242% increase in the risk of cognitive impairment (J Am Geriatr Soc 2007;55(8):1248–1253).

2. They Increase Your Risk of Heart Attack

Taking PPIs increases your risk of heart attack by 16% and doubles your risk of dying of a heart attack (PLoS One 2015;10:e0124653).

3. They Increase Your Risk of Osteoporosis

PPIs interfere with calcium absorption (Am J Med 2005;118:778-81). Taking them for seven or more years is associated with a 92% increase in the risk of osteoporosis related fractures. After five years, there is a 62% increased risk specifically of hip fractures (CMAJ 2008;179:319-26). Postmenopausal women who used PPIs for only two years have a 35% greater risk of hip fracture. When the researchers added this study to ten others in a meta-analysis, they found a 30% increased risk of hip fracture with PPI use (BMJ 2012;344:e372). A just published study again found that using PPIs for only two and a half years is a predictive factor for low bone density (Tunis Med 2018;96(3):193-197).

4. They Increase Your Risk of Kidney Disease

Taking PPIs increase your risk of chronic kidney disease by 45% (JAMA Intern Med 2016;176(2):238-246) and of progression to end-stage kidney disease (Kidney International 2017;91(6):1482-94). A recent study found an 18% increase in risk for chronic kidney disease that climbed to 92% when people were on a high dose (PLoS One 2018;13(10):e0204231). Other studies have found a significant 230% increase in the risk of acute kidney injury in  people with rheumatoid arthritis who were taking PPIs (Drug Saf 2018;41(8):817-826), and a 52% increase in risk of chronic kidney disease in diabetics who take PPIs (Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2018;147:67-75).

5. They Increase Your Risk of Pneumonia

Taking PPIs increases your risk of getting pneumonia (World J Gastrointest Pharmacol Ther 2011;2:17-26). A meta-analysis of nine studies found an increased risk of between 17% and 50%, depending on how high the dose is (Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol 2012;5(3):337-44).

6. They Increase Your Risk of Dysbiosis

Taking PPIs can wreak havoc on your microbiome: they can disturb the healthy balance of microorganisms in your intestine. A study of how diet and drugs affect the intestinal biome concluded that, among the many drugs that negatively affect your microbiome, PPIs have an especially strong negative impact (Science 2016;352(6285):565-9). A second study corroborated that PPIs causes significant gut dysbiosis (Dig Dis Sci 2018;63(11):2940-49).

7. They Increase Your Risk of Cancer

Using PPIs can even increase your risk of cancer. People who use PPIs on a long term maintenance basis have an increased risk of oesophageal cancer (Cancer Epidemiol 2018 04;53:172-7). Long term maintenance doses of PPIs are also associated with an increase in gastric cancer. The increased risk of gastric cancer is especially high in users who are under forty (BMJ Open 2017;7:e017739). A second study found that use of PPIs among people who had eradicated H. pylori infection with clarithromycin-based triple therapy have a significant 244% increased risk of gastric cancer. The risk grows greater the longer you are on the PPI (Gut 2018;67:28-35).

These 7 adverse effects are only the tip of the toxic iceberg. You can see indexed no less than 50 diseases linked to their use on our Acid Blocker Drug reseach index.

Natural, Evidence-Based Alternatives Exist 

First, it should be noted that simple dietary modifications can have dramatic beneficial effects, such as removing wheat, nightshades, and cow's milk from the diet. There are also a wide range of natural alternatives to conventional drugs that have been researched and are featured on GreenMedInfo, including articles we have written on the following natural substances: 

For additional research on natural solutions to ulcers, or acid reflux, visit our databases on the subject.

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