Proton Pump Inhibitor Use In Reflux Disease
Proton Pump Inhibitors, or PPI’s, are a class of medication that are commonly used to treat GERD. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is characterized as acid reflux occurring more than twice a week and is caused by stomach acid flowing back up into the esophagus.
Proton Pump Inhibitors work to treat GERD by preventing the production of stomach acid. It’s widely believed that reducing the amount of stomach acid produced by the body can decrease the severity of GERD and prevent further damage to the esophagus.
However, some researchers believe that there may be side effects associated with the use of PPI’s.
Unexpected Consequences Of Proton Pump Inhibitor Use
- Increased rates of hip fractures: possibly related to altered calcium absorption
- Altered vitamin B12 and iron absorption: possibly related to alteration of the gastric pH
- Increased risk of nosocomial diarrhea related to Clostridium difficile toxins
- Increased risk for contracting community-acquired pneumonia
In addition to these potential side effects, researchers also warn that excessive stomach acid may not be the only cause of GERD. PPI therapy may be completely ineffective at addressing other underlying causes of the disease.
This research does not suggest that proton pump inhibitors should never be used to treat acid reflux. It is important, however, to be aware of any possible side effects when considering any medication. It’s especially important to consider consequences of long-term PPI therapy. Doctors and patients should always look to incorporate diet and lifestyle chances into any acid reflux treatment plan.