June 28, 2016 — Consumer Reports is urging caution about using anti-heartburn drugs like Prilosec and Nexium because they can have severe side effects and it can be hard to quit.
One report focused on recent studies linking long-term use of PPIs with more side effects than H2 blockers like Pepcid AC or Zantac.
The report cited several studies linking PPIs with a 20% increased risk of kidney disease, 15% increased risk of heart attack, and a 44% increased risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Other studies have found that less acid in the stomach increases the risk of bacterial infections. It can also interfere with the absorption of vitamins, which can lead to calcium deficiencies and osteoporosis.
Consumer Reports also warned that PPIs can be hard to stop due to a “rebound” effect in which the stomach over-produces acid, resulting in severe pain, nausea, and food coming up in the esophagus.
Drug-makers are facing a growing number of lawsuits for downplaying these risks. Experts are not sure why PPIs are associated with kidney problems, but the side effect may be linked to magnesium deficiencies or low-level inflammation (interstitial nephritis).
List of heartburn drugs in PPI class:
- Aciphex (rabeprazole)
- Dexilant (dexlansoprazole)
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Protonix (pantoprazole)
- Vimovo (naproxen / esomeprazole)
- Zegerid (omeprazole / sodium bicarbonate)
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