Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On Becoming Addicted to Acid-Blocking Drugs for Reflux

The use of PPI drugs such as Prilosec, Nexium and Protonics for gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) has increased dramatically in recent years. A Danish study showed that discontinuing long-term use of these drugs was very difficult in most patients, even though patients had no abnormal endoscopic findings. When the drug is stopped there is a rebound of symptoms, just like withdrawal symptoms when a patient is addicted to a controlled substance. Long-term use of PPI drugs can increase the risk of hip fractures. Once a patient gets through a gradual tapering of a PPI over 3-12 weeks, he or she might be able to get off the drug, but additional therapy (like Refluxin from Cardiovascular Research) might be needed for some time.

See Family Practice News (click here), July, 2010, p. 59.

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