By Hailemariam Shimelis REDP case team leader @ TASH
Heartburn medications such as proton pump inhibitors taken by millions of people are under scrutiny following studies that reveal a risk for side effects, including kidney damage.
“The risk is pretty low, (<1 in 1000) but it’s not zero,” says Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Dr. Ken DeVault. “So it’s worth talking to your physician.”
The medications are called proton pump inhibitors, sold under brand names such as Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid, and the generic forms, such as omeprazole, esomeprazole and lansoprazole.
Dr. DeVault says, despite the risks, proton pump inhibitors are the best option for some patients with heartburn. However, he thinks the medications are over used by many people who could find alternatives especially life style modification.
Below is a one minute Mayo Clinic video where Dr. DeVault asks two important questions about proton pump inhibitors and offers other ideas for beating heartburn. Jeff Olsen reports.
Lifestyle changes can help ease heartburn:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.
- Avoid tightfitting clothing, which puts pressure on your abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter.
- Avoid foods that trigger your heartburn.
- Avoid lying down after a meal. Wait at least three hours.
- Avoid late meals.
- Elevate the head of your bed if you regularly experience heartburn at night or while trying to sleep. If that’s not possible, insert a wedge between your mattress and box spring to elevate your body from the waist up. Raising your head with additional pillows usually isn’t effective.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking decreases the lower esophageal sphincter’s ability to function properly.