Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid and Protonix – are proton pump inhibitors safe?
Researchers at Stanford University recently reported that certain medications used to treat common stomach conditions like heartburn, excess stomach acid and gastroesophageal reflux disease may place patients at increased risk for heart attack. Although the data are not yet conclusive, warnings on proton pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid and Protonix have been issued. You may also know these drugs by their generic names – omeprazole, lansoprazole and pantoprazole.
But wait! This worry is not the only concern for these medications. Although very effective in treating common stomach disorders, they interfere with the absorption of calcium, vitamin B12 and magnesium and used for long periods of time can lead to osteoporosis, anemia, hypertension and type II diabetes. Other adverse reactions include inflammation of the pancreas, liver and kidneys.
While proton pump inhibitors are generally regarded to be safe when used for short periods of time, I recommend reevaluation at three months and discontinuation or substituting an alternative form of therapy like Zantac, Tagamet or Tums, which is probably the safest.
Finally, for persistent symptoms evaluation by a gastroenterologist for more serious causes of stomach conditions is prudent.
Of course there are some things that can do too – like stop smoking, lose weight, avoid overeating and slow down on the alcohol.
This is Dr. Jim for Be Healthy! Be Happy! hoping this message powers your path to health and happiness!
Shah, N., et al, 2015. Proton pump inhibitor usage and the risk of myocardial infarction in the general population. Online [available at]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4462578/ [Accessed December 3, 2016].