If you’re a regular reader of mine, then you already know that antacid medications—and those little purple proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) in particular—have been in the hotseat for a while now.
Of course, conventional “experts” are quick to dismiss all those reports of fracture risk, dementia, and even increased risk of death as exaggerations. But since we already know who’s paying their bills, needless to say, you’re better safe than sorry.
And that’s especially true given recent news of yet another adverse effect of these drugs: allergies.
From antacids to allergy meds
This study looked at a wide range of antacid drugs, including H2-receptor antagonists (like Zantac®, Tagamet, Pepcid), not just PPIs. And it found that, among the general population, patients on these drugs were twice as likely to need a prescription for allergy meds down the road.
This increase was seen across the board, among all classes of antacids. In fact, in some cases, the drugs tripled the likelihood of later needing an allergy prescription.
The effect was more prominent in women than men. And the increases were particularly dramatic with age—jumping from a 50 percent rise in allergies among patients in their 20s, to more than a 500 percent increase among patients older than 60!
To make matters worse, it didn’t take much antacid medication to see this effect. Ultimately, researchers found greater odds of being prescribed allergy meds with as few as six doses of antacids per year.
And that risk only increased with frequent, continued use. Patients who took up to 20 doses per year saw their risk jump nearly 30 percent. And those who took the drugs anywhere from 68 to 200 times per year suffered a 250 percent increase in risk.
Antacids make a bad situation worse
Clearly, this is a big problem—especially given the fact that these drugs are a mainstay of American medicine cabinets.
Most people think nothing of using them. Their mentality is this: If they had an indulgent night of eating or drinking… no problem! Just pop a pill and feel better. And because these antacids are available over the counter, every consumer has access at any time.
And yet, studies continue to expose very serious adverse events linked with overuse—which, in this case, could simply mean long-term use—of antacid drugs.
Bear in mind that the research performed on these medicines prior to approval was limited to 8-week courses of treatment. So really, safety was never guaranteed—at least not in the way most Americans use antacids.
A lot of people rely on these drugs their whole lives… when simple dietary changes are usually enough to wipe out most gastrointestinal (GI) problems for good.
The bottom line is that we need acid in our stomachs. It’s there for a reason—and in seniors, at least, low stomach acid is a much more common problem. (One that causes a lot of the same symptoms that we associate with excess acid—including bloating, indigestion, and heartburn.)
But obviously, acid blockers will make these problems worse, not better. (Just another example of one pill “curing” a lifestyle problem… and in its wake, creating an entirely different one.)
But a daily dose of betaine HCL—and of course, a daily probiotic, like Dr. Ohhira’s—can usually fix these problems entirely. Without any of the risks that antacids carry. In fact, I explained these alternatives to antacids in the April 2014 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“Why your go-to antacid could be destroying your brain”). So if you’re not yet a subscriber, now’s the perfect time to get started!
Because if I struggled with heartburn, I know which treatment I’d be choosing…
“Gastric Acid Inhibitor Use May Up Allergy Risk.” Medscape Medical News, 08/05/2019. (medscape.com/viewarticle/916433)