Safe Use of Proton Pump Inhibitors for Acid Reflux

  • All medications have side effects. The recent influx of information on the side effects of PPIs has made many scared to take them, even when they are needed. In contrast some patients are insisting on the medications, or purchasing them OTC when they may not be needed. There are several things we can do to help limit these issues.

    First, be sure to have an open discussion with your physician before beginning any treatment for acid reflux. They can help you to rule out any other causes for your symptoms and help insure that you should be treating acid reflux and not some other condition.

    Attempt all of the behavioral changes to deal with acid reflux before resorting to the use of medications. In overweight individuals it can help to lose weight. Dietary changes can also help in many instances. Smokers would be wise to quit as that can also increase acid reflux symptoms. Formula or positional changes can help infants with acid reflux.

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    Try the lowest dose of medication for the minimum time frame as indicated by your physician. If the lower dose does not cut it you can always increase the medication. Be sure to have an "end date" for treatment to avoid being on the medication longer than necessary.

    Be aware of the risk of rebound acid when discontinuing these types of medications. Discuss with your physician if you should be weaned down from the medicine or if you should use an acid reducer while you transition off of the PPI.

    A little extra care can insure that these medications are used as safely as possible.

Published On: December 20, 2011