Always Weigh the Risk with the Benefit of Any Drug You Take!

Use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or what many refer to as heartburn/acid reflux drugs may be linked to long-term kidney damage, according to a study published online January 11 in JAMA…and this study suggests that up to 70% of these prescriptions are without indication and that 25% of long-term PPI users could discontinue therapy without developing symptoms.  As a Registered Dietitian, I am always going to recommend a more holistic approach to GI issues such as diet and lifestyle changes. If you need a drug you need a drug, but you should always be on the least amount of meds possible.

While study can't prove cause-and-effect, increasing damage seen as dose rises

While this study can’t prove cause-and-effect, increasing damage is seen as dose rises. Researchers found that PPI users were more likely to have health issues, such as obesity and hypertension. Use of the medications was associated with an increased risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) over 10 years. The researchers also compared patients using the medications once a day with those who used them twice a day. They found that twice-daily use was associated with a 46% increased risk of CKD, versus a 15% increased risk in those taking on daily dose.

Please work with your doctor on any changes of medications that you would like to make. There are some people who may need these drugs to help prevent severe damage to their esophagus.

After talking to your doctor about this and the decision is to wean off the PPI what can you take?

DGL Licorice chewable form is a good natural alternative, especially to help you wean off the PPI.   You can buy it in most health food stores, and unless you have significantly high blood pressure, taking other medications that may interact with it, or have a specific intolerance to licorice itself, it is considered relatively safe in the amounts you would be taking. Licorice helps to soothe irritated mucous membranes and stimulates mucus secretion to coat the stomach wall.  Always check with your MD and your Registered Dietitian to investigate any possible interaction between licorice and any medication you may be on.  A good brand would be chewable, gluten free, and with no added or artificial sugars. In addition, Ginger is a good spice that will help with stomach upset.

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