Acid-Suppressing Drugs Damage the Gut

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Many people who have arthritis take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to manage pain. NSAIDs can wreak havoc on the stomach lining, however, so acid-suppressing drugs are often prescribed along with the NSAIDs to help protect the stomach (note the Band-Aid on top of Band-Aid method of medicine here).

The acid-suppressing drugs, or more specifically, proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), have been found to protect the stomach of people on long-term NSAIDs, yes. But from the results of a new study, it appears that the damage is only displaced further down the digestive tract—to the intestines. So instead of stomach ulcers, intestinal damage occurs, increasing the risk of developing intestinal ulcers, which can be more dangerous and difficult to treat.

The dangers of acid-suppressing medications are many. It’s a topic I’ve touched on before. I’ve even video-blogged about it. So many people are taking these medications long term when they aren’t designed for such use. If your doctor has given you acid-suppressing medications, be sure to inform yourself about the side effects of taking these drugs long term.

This week, if you know someone on acid suppressors for heartburn, open up the dialogue about how dietary and lifestyle factors may be at the root cause of upper digestive symptoms. If you pay attention to what you eat and how you eat, for example, you may be able to make changes that relieve your heartburn. If you know someone on these medications to protect against NSAID damage, they may want to think twice, based on this recent study.

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