Acid reflux is a serious condition that affects millions of people throughout the United States. While it’s not fatal, acid reflux can make day-to-day living unnecessarily painful, as each meal can lead to a burning sensation throughout the esophagus and mouth. After enough time, acid reflux can lead to loss of tooth enamel or even ulcers in the stomach. This is why acid reflux medications have become increasingly popular over the years, especially those that require a prescription.
One example of a popular drug that requires a prescription (usually) for treating acid reflux is proton pump inhibitors.
How Do Proton Pump Inhibitors Work?
A certain amount of acid in your stomach is required to carry out regular digestion. It’s also essential for killing off unhealthy forms of bacteria. To help protect against its corrosive nature, the body lines the stomach with a natural mucous barrier. This PPI allows digestion to occur without damaging the stomach.
In some people, the band at the top of the stomach (known as the sphincter) isn’t working correctly, so acid can escape and cause acid reflux in the esophagus. When this happens, the person will experience a literal burning sensation wherever the acid can reach. This same acidity can also remove layers of enamel from the teeth, which will leave them susceptible to premature decay.
A worn down stomach lining may also make it possible for ulcers to occur. Ulcers come with some their nasty side effects too.
How Proton Pump Inhibitors Are Meant to Help
Proton pump inhibitors are designed to stop cells in the stomach’s lining from producing an abundance of acid. By doing so, ulcers aren’t able to form. Any ulcers that have already formed will be substantially aided in the healing process too.
Decreasing the amount of acid produced can also reduce the effects of acid reflux. While the problem that allows it up into the esophagus may remain, there shouldn’t be enough for the stomach to spare.
The reason they have this name is that they inhibit a chemical system called hydrogen-potassium adenosine triphosphatase enzyme system, a.k.a. The “proton pump.” This proton pump is found inside the stomach linings cells responsible for making stomach acid.
Proton Pump Inhibitors and Chronic Kidney Disease
In February of 2016, an issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (a.k.a. JAMA) published results of a study that concluded that using proton pump inhibitors for a long-term period could increase the person’s risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
Specifically, the study suggested that over ten years, the risk of chronic kidney disease in those taking proton pump inhibitors were 20% to 50% higher than those who hadn’t taken any medications – prescription or otherwise.
The study also indicated that the longer a person took the medication, the greater their risk became. Those who took proton pump inhibitors more than twice a day were also more likely to suffer from the condition.
Proton Pump Inhibitors and Other Serious Conditions
Other dangerous conditions have been linked to this popular prescription medication. For example, in 2015, a medical journal called PLOS One declared that two studies had shown that proton pump inhibitors could increase the risk of heart attack by as much as 21%.
Back in 2006, a study revealed that there was a higher risk of fracturing bones in elderly people who took proton pump inhibitors. Eventually, in 2010, this study got the FDA to issue a warning about the bone-fracture-related risk.
In 2009, a study done in Copenhagen discovered that using proton pump inhibitors could create a “rebound” acid effect, something the researchers linked to a dependency on this form of medicine.
When used during pregnancy, proton pump inhibitors may cause cardiac birth effects. Although the FDA hasn’t sided with this opinion, animal studies have produced proof. Birth defects have also been used in numerous lawsuits against manufacturers of proton pump inhibitors.
Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuits
If you believe you have suffered because one of the above side effects, see a doctor right away. Then, if your suspicions pan out, you’ll want to speak with an experienced attorney, one who has represented a plaintiff in this exact kind of case, so they’ll understand how best to proceed.