When O.J. Simpson was sent to jail in 2008 for robbery and kidnapping, the sentence was 33 years. Lots of people thought that it was a long time coming.
In medical research, two long-term studies of a medication for acid reflux were a long time coming — and their verdicts could change your life.
Since the 1990s, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been a favored treatment for GERD and even simple acid reflux. These drugs suppress stomach acid up to three days per dose and were thought to have minimal side effects.
But two recent studies might change treatment standards.
The first, from Johns Hopkins, tracked 10,482 adults with normal kidney function for 15 years. It found that PPI users were 20 to 50 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease than non-PPI users.
The second study, out of SUNY Buffalo, tracked more than 240,000 patients for 17 years and had similar results.
Both studies also reported that people who used H2 blockers (another medication for acid reflux, which only lasts 12 hours per dose) didn't increase the risk for chronic kidney disease.
Cases of chronic kidney disease are on the rise (increasing red-meat consumption is also a trigger), affecting around 31 million Americans.
If properly prescribed for GERD, taking PPIs might be worth the reduced risk of esophageal cancer. But the lead author of the SUNY study warns that two-thirds of the time the drugs are not prescribed appropriately.
So don't dose yourself with over-the-counter PPIs. Instead, talk with your doctor about how to quell your stomach fires.
Posts by Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D. and Dr. Mike Roizen, M.D.
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