The over-prescribing of potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals is rampant throughout all of medicine, not just psychiatry. I’ve written about anti-acids before, but I’m sharing again since the New York Times has done a feature article. It’s always nice to get a bit of back-up from the mainstream media even if they’re generally late to the party and even though they often miss a whole lot.
Because anti-acids ultimately affect the gut and therefore ones entire system, there will be mental health effects too. One needs a healthy body in general to have a healthy mind. Gut health as I often underscore is imperative. See: Nutrition and gut health
From the New York Times:
As many as four in 10 Americans have symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and many depend on P.P.I.’s like Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium to reduce stomach acid. These are the third highest-selling class of drugs in the United States, after antipsychotics and statins, with more than 100 million prescriptions and $13.9 billion in sales in 2010, in addition to over-the-counter sales.
But in recent years, the Food and Drug Administration has issued numerous warnings about P.P.I.’s, saying long-term use and high doses have been associated with an increased risk of bone fractures and infection with a bacterium called Clostridium difficile that can be especially dangerous to elderly patients. In a recent paper, experts recommended that older adults use the drugs only “for the shortest duration possible.” (continue reading here)
I found Chris Kressers work on how to get off and permanently avoid anti acids very helpful.
My mother, who was told she needed SURGERY for severe acid reflux also used his advice at my suggestion and she is now off all meds and never needed surgery.
Below is a cut and paste of his page on Heartburn and GERD that includes links to several informative and helpful articles he’s written about the science and use of anti acids as well as how to heal the gut and stomach so that one might not ever think they need to take an anti acid again.
HEARTBURN / GERD — Chris Kresser
The mainstream medical approach to treating heartburn and GERD involves taking acid stopping drugs for as long as symptoms are present. Unfortunately, not only do these drugs fail to address the underlying cause of heartburn and GERD, they make it worse. This means that people who start taking acid stopping medications end up taking them for the rest of their lives.
This is a serious issue because acid stopping drugs promote bacterial overgrowth, weaken our resistance to infection, reduce absorption of essential nutrients, and increase the likelihood of developing IBS, other digestive disorders, and cancer. The pharmaceutical companies have always been aware of these risks. When acid-stopping drugs were first introduced, it was recommended that they not be taken for more than six weeks. Clearly this prudent advice has been discarded, as it is not uncommon today to encounter people who have been on these drugs for decades – not weeks.
What is especially disturbing about this is that heartburn and GERD are easily prevented and cured by makingsimple dietary and lifestyle changes, as I outline in the articles below.
The sad truth is that the corruption of our “disease-care” system by the financial interests of the pharmaceutical companies virtually guarantees that this crucial information will remain obscure. Drug companies make more than$7 billion a year selling acid suppressing medications. The last thing they want is for doctors and their patients to learn how to treat heartburn and GERD without these drugs. And since 2/3 of all medical research is sponsored by drug companies, it’s virtually guaranteed that we won’t see any large studies on the effects of a low-carb diet on acid reflux and GERD.
So once again it’s up to us to discover the truth and be our own advocates. I hope this series of articles has served you in that goal.
Articles by Chris Kresser on Heartburn and Gerd
Visit Chris Kresser’s site here (he’s got book recommendations regarding heart burn there too)
h/t for New York Times article goes to Alto Strata at SurvivingAntidepressants.org