The Heartburn of PPIs

June 9th, 2017

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) were medicines introduced in the 1990s. They reduce the production of gastric acid. You may know them by a number of other names, including:

• Nexium (esomeprazole)
• Prevacid (lansoprazole)
• Protonix (pantoprazole)
• AcipHex (rabeprazole)
• Prilosec (omeprazole)
• Dexilant (dexlansoprazole)
• Kapidex (dexlansoprazole)

Among others:

PPIs have been used to treat a whole host of maladies. Among these are Dyspepsia, Peptic Ulcers, GERD (GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease), Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, Barret’s Esophagus, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Gastritis and Gastrinomas.

But is the risk justified? With long term use PPIs may come with some significant side effects. “(Over the counter) PPIs are marketed at low doses and are only intended for a 14 day course of treatment up to 3 times per year.”

Are the side effects worth it to get rid of heartburn? Adverse events have included accelerated aging of blood vessels, increased risk of pneumonia, heart attack or stroke, permanent kidney damage (from AIN – Acute Interstitial Nephritis to potential renal failure), bone injuries, and a possible increased risk of dementia.

I know heartburn can keep you up at night. But is getting rid of heartburn worth gambling on those physical maladies – or increasing the chance of losing your mind?

The makers of PPIs have done very little to inform the public of the risks associated with their products. And to top it off, these products may be addictive.

If heartburn – or the complications of heartburn medicine – are keeping you up at night, give us a call.