Long Term Use of Proton Pump Inhibitors

As recent research has shown, long-term use of proton pump inhibitors, medications used to relieve symptoms of Acid Reflux or GERD (Nexium, Prilosec, Omeprazole, Prevacid, AcipHex, Dexilant, and Protonix), may increase the risk of osteoporosis, altered absorption of vitamins and minerals (especially magnesium), infection, kidney impairment and possible dementia in some individuals.

Our main goal is to avoid these medications or use as little as possible. Unfortunately, however, this is not possible in all cases.

We strongly advise our patients to make the appropriate lifestyle and dietary changes including the following:

  • Avoid fatty, spicy and acidic foods.
  • Eat 5 to 6 small meals daily.
  • Decrease portion sizes.
  • Avoid eating 2 -3 hours prior to bedtime.
  • Elevate the head of bed on 4 – 6 inch blocks.
  • Weight Loss.
  • Avoid tight fitting clothing or bras.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
  • Take a Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D supplement daily.
  • Increase physical activity.
  • Walk 10 – 15 minutes, 1 hour after meals.
  • Consult with your Primary Care Physician to discuss Bone Density Scans, Vitamin D blood levels and possible interactions with other medications.
  • If you have moderate to severe symptoms 3 – 4 times per week:
    • We highly recommend strict lifestyle and dietary modifications.
    • Attempt to taper down your medications as tolerated.

Try alternate medications such as Anti-acids and H2 Blockers such as Zantac, Pepcid, etc.

Patients need to consider the risks vs. benefits of these medications. As untreated, Heartburn and GERD can cause Esophagitis (Inflammation of the Esophagus), Metaplasia “Barrett’s Esophagus” (Change in the lining of the Esophagus) and on rare occasion, Esophageal Cancer.

For further information regarding these medications or for questions regarding the risks and benefits, we encourage patients to consult your Primary Care Physician, internet, or schedule an office visit with our clinic.