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Acid Suppressors Linked to Fractures

Q. I have been taking either Prilosec or Nexium for over seven years for reflux. No one seems concerned about it but me. I would like to get off “the purple pill” but I can only go for a few days without the drug before the acid becomes overwhelming.
My doctor thinks these drugs are harmless, but I have read about problems with long-term use. I don’t need a broken bone at this stage of my life. Are there any natural approaches I could use while I try to get off Nexium?
A. Acid suppressing drugs such as Aciphex, Prevacid, Prilosec (omeprazole), Protonix or Nexium may produce unexpected complications. Articles in the Archives of Internal Medicine (May 10, 2010) have linked such drugs to an increased risk of fractures and infections (pneumonia and Clostridium difficile).
Some experts believe that powerful acid suppressors are over-prescribed, especially for routine reflux. Weaning off such drugs can be challenging. It can take months to overcome rebound acid production.
We are sending you our Guide to Digestive Disorders with tips for getting off these drugs and alternative solutions for heartburn. Probiotics, ginger capsules and DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) tablets may help ease symptoms of heartburn while phasing out your drug.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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