Heartburn Drugs Upset Bacterial Balance in the GI Tract

proton-pump inhibitor, or PPI, in short, have become a mainstay as medications acidity. Once available only by prescription, potent acid-suppressing drugs such as omeprazole ( Prilosec ), lansoprazole ( Prevacid ) and esomeprazole ( Nexium ) are now available through counter. They are no longer limited to the treatment of ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease severe as they were originally, but now are widely used for many types of digestive disorders.

However, it is prudent for so many people to be taking medication for heartburn PPI, or for people who take them for so long? New research from the Netherlands suggests that these drugs may change the balance of bacteria that live in the intestinal tract.

Consequences of heartburn drugs for bacterial balance in the digestive tract:

Dutch researchers analyzed DNA from fecal samples of 1,815 adults. They found that those taking proton-pump inhibitor have fewer types of beneficial bacteria and potentially dangerous bacteria.

Such changes in the ecology of the intestine appear to increase the risk of infection Clostridium difficile , also known as C. diff . This organism can cause serious and difficult to treat diarrhea.

Gut , line December 9, 2015

This is not the first time we’ve heard that long-term use of PPI drugs may increase the risk of recurrence of C. diff. infections. A report published in Archives of Internal Medicine in May 2015, showed that many hospitalized patients are at higher risk significantly multi C. diff. infections if they remain on these medications for heartburn. Although it may be very difficult to stop these medicines, effort is worthwhile when the person is no longer susceptible to repeated bouts of diarrhea life-threatening.

You can learn more about IBP and other ways to control the acidity in our Guide Disease Digestive .

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