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  Disturbing News About Heartburn Medication

Although numerous heartburn medication is available, numerous individuals still don't find the relief that they need from them. Since I belong to that percentage as well, I definitely understand the pain of dealing with acid reflux symptoms on daily basis. This is the reason that most of us reach for the stronger OTC & PPI antacids which the doctors prescribe by the handfuls. No one really talks about natural cures or life/dietary changes at a traditional medical facility, but that's beyond the scope of this article.

Canadian as well as US researchers performed tests on the effects of long term use of these by the middle age population and they reached a shocking conclusion. The choice you have to make is whether you are willing to suffer with reflux and go for the more natural cures or risk breaking a bone.

On top of that, these types of medications also increase the risk of severe diarrhea brought on by the C. difficile bacteria. This came about due to FDA reviewing a group of studies that linked the drugs to bone fractures.

"There is a possible increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine if you take certain drugs for heartburn, acid reflux, or ulcers," was the official stamement from the FDA.

The Drugs To Watch Out For

The prescription PPIs include Nexium, Dexilant, Prilosec, Zegerid, Prevacid, Protonix, Aciphex, Vimovo.

The over-the-counter (OTC) PPIs include Prilosec OTC , Zegerid OTC , Prevacid 24HR.

The population which is really affected by this seems to be in the age group of 50+. These drugs are very commonly perscribed and WebMD estimates the number to be in the ballpark of a 110-115 million perscriptions.

FDA's Advice

FDAThe FDA gives a couple of tips on their site as well but I will sum the up here.

  • Don't stop taking the medications recommended by your doctor without consulting with him/her. 
  • Users taking the drugs for over a year are at the highest risk. 
  • Any of these over the counter meds should only be taken for 14 days in a row and this shouldn't be done any more than three times in a single year. 

The FDA also wants you to report any other PPI side effects to them by calling (800) 332-1088.

So What To Do Next...

The first thing I think that should be done is to print this out, or the FDA statement and bring it with you to your doctor. The doctors that I have encountered all feel that drugs such as Nexium, Prilosec and others have no long term side effects and can be taken indifintely.

Personally I don't think that any medication should be taken for a long period of time but with acid reflux it is a hard thing to do. Reflux gets you at the time when you least expect it or when it is the most inconvienient thing that could happen. Most of it could be due to the stress response from teh body but the fact remains that we have to deal with it somehow.

I think the choice is up to you but it's always good to try some of the more natural options and see whether they symptoms can't be improved in that way.

You could try to sleep with your upper body elevated, change your diet, take probiotics etc.

There are many options available, and even though it will take some time and money... this is not the type of thing you want to ignore.

I don't think that these drugs are at fault nor are the companies. Many of these pills were a revolutionary way to curb heartburn/reflux symptoms and as with anything, the side effects are rarely found right away.

Scientific tests are also questionable as the results may change depending on numerous factors that come into play.

All I can say is that if you can't get off these drugs for the time being, proceed with caution.

Source: FDA Site