Heartburn is a common condition, and it is not surprising to see drugs such as Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonixm, Nexium, Dexilant, and Aciphex on my patients’ medication lists. Many of these are over-the-counter drugs so some patients don’t even bother to mention. However, their side effects are more alarming than burning images TV commercials use to describe heartburn or acid-reflux conditions themselves.
These drugs are called “Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI).” Although medical evidence is mixed, here is a short list of more serious medical conditions linked of chronic usage of PPIs: heart disease, dementia, and C.difficile infection (gut bug that hard to treat). In addition to the list, here, I would like to share two large studies from my research. One was a study done at the University of Buffalo’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, NY. This study indicated a link between kidney disease and usage of PPIs. Researchers found twenty-percent increase in kidney diseases and four times higher kidney failure in PPI users compared to non-users! An earlier study in 2016 on the Journal of the American Medical Association also provided convincing evidence of the linkage. My findings match the current rising trends of kidney diseases in public data. Through my practice, I have encountered more kidney problems in the past five years.
While the medical community continues to seek out more definite answers to the linkage, I urge you to think twice before taking anti-acid medications and consider alternatives.
I have managed heartburn successfully with natural medicine and acupuncture. I have treated with herbs, clinical nutrition, and acupuncture with great results. One 30 year old patient with 2 years of heartburn became pain free after sessions of acupuncture and lifestyle modification. Another 60 year old with life-long heartburn pain also experienced greater than 50% improvement on her way to healing. So, why wouldn’t you give it a try?