PPIs is the acronym for proton pump inhibitors, which work to reduce the amount of acid in a person’s stomach. Doctors often use them to treat stomach ulcers and acid reflux. These medications inhibit the stomach’s production of acid by working on the cells that line the stomach.
Though they have various brand and generic designations, users can identify them by the following names:
How PPIs Work
Stomachs produce acid to help with food digestion and kill certain bad bacteria in the gut. Though good for digestion, the acid is extremely corrosive. The body, in turn, creates a natural barrier of mucous to protect the stomach’s lining from being eroded. For some, this barrier has been broken down, which causes an ulcer. For others, the muscular band, the sphincter, at the top of the stomach closes the stomach tightly, letting the acid escape and hurt the esophagus, more often called the gullet. This is acid reflux, and it can cause heartburn and the gullet to become inflamed.
Physicians prescribe PPIs to prevent the cells in the lining of the stomach from over-producing acid, helping prevent ulcers. PPIs decrease the acid, which relieves symptoms of reflux, like heartburn. Scientists call them proton pump inhibitors because they inhibit the body’s chemical system found in the cells of the stomach lining that create the stomach acid.
Side Effects of PPIs
There is a long list of side effects associated with taking PPIs. A few of them include:
- Acute Interstitial Nephritis
- End Stage Renal Disease
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Renal Failure
- Acute Kidney Injury
- Gastric Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Gastric Adenocarcinoma
Understand PPI Withdrawal
Because of the sensitivity of a person’s gut, PPIs change the physiology of the stomach, which is constantly trying to keep its equilibrium stable. This is called homeostasis. After taking PPIs, the stomach reduces its acid production, making the body produce a hormone to compensate. The excess of this hormone causes the stomach to overproduce acid, making it extremely difficult for people to stop taking PPIs.
Unfortunately, the FDA continues to allow pharmaceutical companies to release these drugs, and doctors continue to prescribe them. Patients who trust their doctors are often unaware of the seriousness of these side effects. Some people take them for years, despite the overwhelming evidence that taking these drugs long-term is harmful.
Have a frank discussion with your doctor if you are taking PPIs, and don’t discontinue them until you’ve talked with him or her. If you are suffering from acid reflux, heartburn or ulcers, know that there are alternatives to taking PPIs. If you do decide PPIs are damaging your health, don’t stop all at once. Gradually come off the medication to avoid withdrawal symptoms. In the meantime, a low-carb diet has helped some who suffer from stomach issues, and it helps ensure that your gut is healthy by taking probiotics.
What to do After Long-Term Use of PPIs
Whether through a doctor’s prescription or from over-the-counter treatments, PPIs have a history of damaging a person’s health – it’s a case of the treatment being worse than the illness. If you have suffered the damaging effects of long-term PPI use, discuss your symptoms with an attorney.
Lawsuits are often the only way for people to hold big pharma responsible for products unleashed without proper testing. The injury attorneys of Anapol Weiss are not afraid to go to trial if it’s necessary; we’ll fight on your behalf for fair compensation. Call our office today to set up your free consultation.