PPI Health Alert
A warning about PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors)
HSI eAlert

 Someone you care about uses heartburn medicine.

No, I haven't been reading your e-mails. It's just that SO many people are using heartburn meds these days, it's a safe bet that you know one of those people, or probably several of them.

Unfortunately, it's also a safe bet that the drugs they're taking are doing some level of harm to their digestive tract and general health. And in some cases the harm can be dangerous.

I'm talking specifically about proton pump inhibitor drugs (such as Prevacid, Nexium, and Prilosec). And yes, we've seen warnings about these drugs before. But now, with evidence of a very troubling new way PPI drugs can harm you, we've gotten to the point where it has to be asked...

When do you take PPIs off the market to keep consumers out of harm's way?

No mystery in these links

As usual, the FDA is late to the party.

Two years ago I told you about research that confirmed a clear link between PPI use and Clostridium difficile infection.

As I've mentioned before, Clostridium difficile -- better known as C. diff. -- is like a Trojan Horse living in your gut. It's down there right now. And for most of us, most of the time, it's under control, held in check by good bacteria.

But when it finds an opening, it can trigger digestive inflammation and diarrhea so severe that some cases result in death.

And that's why the FDA recently (finally!) acted.

Just days ago, the agency issued a Safety Alert warning that PPI use may be associated with a higher risk of chronic diarrhea caused by C. diff -- which is really bad news for regular PPI users. The potential for trading off heartburn for a dangerous case of diarrhea is not what you'd call an attractive deal.

But this "new" warning is deeply annoying because I find it very hard to believe that drug company and FDA scientists didn't see this coming a long time ago. I mean, the logic here is not rocket science...

One: PPI drugs suppress stomach acid. Two: Stomach acid helps keep C. diff from flourishing. It's not very hard to connect those dots!

But there's one more PPI drawback that may be an important third connection.

Last year, the FDA told PPI makers that they must warn patients that this class of drugs may deplete magnesium levels. The potential problems here are enormous. Good magnesium levels are essential for a healthy heart, insulin control, clear cognition, and strong bones.

But research also shows that low magnesium may also contribute to C. diff proliferation.

It's been nearly 25 years since the FDA approved Prilosec, the first PPI drug. It's ridiculous that the word is just now getting out about all these drawbacks.

Tell your friends and family that there are simple ways to treat heartburn and acid reflux without putting your overall health at risk. Find out more at this link.

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