By now many patients have read about the problems that may result from chronic acid suppression, relays Dr. Rudert. Many patients see me for second opinion consults and some of their symptoms are actually due to the medications they are taking. Any and all medications may be associated with side effects. Fortunately, most patients do well on their medications; however, I have seen some serious illnesses result that were wrongly diagnosed leading to therapy that wasn’t indicated. I review all of my patient’s medications to see not only if they could be causing problems but also to see if they are even indicated.
How many patients have the wrong diagnosis?
Dr. Rudert answers: One out of every 6 patients has the wrong diagnosis. This accounts for needless ongoing suffering and millions of unnecessary dollars spent. A common example of a incorrect diagnosis that I see all too often….. Older/elderly individuals on PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors). If you were half awake in physiology class you should remember the gastric parietal cell. These mighty little cells live in the stomach and secrete gastric acid. Gastric acid is your first line of defense against many infections including food poisoning.Therapy aimed at reducing gastric acid typically decreases it but usually does not eliminate it. The exception is in older individuals. Gastric acid production DECREASES with age! Therefore PPI’s should rarely if ever be used in patients that produce so little acid to begin with.
What are some side effects of long term acid suppression therapy?
Dr. Rudert answers:
Side effects I have seen (that have been reported and verified by others): *memory loss *dementia *kidney problems (renal insufficiency) *low magnesium *bone loss *diarrhea *fecal incontinence *B12 deficiency *SIBO (bacterial overgrowth) *a possible trigger for celiac and *polymyalgia rheumatica .
What can I do?
Dr. Rudert answers: There are ways you can successfully taper these meds; however, the longer you have been on them the longer it may take. I have lectured to many physicians about the tapering protocols I use. It is possible to “come off” these medications however they cannot be discontinued suddenly. Sadly, many healthcare providers no longer have the time to review your medications and even less for recommending tapering programs.
The pharmacists have a great expression!
I was lecturing to several hundred consulting pharmacists at one of their national meetings and one told me, “Doctor’s always know when to start a medication they just never know when to stop them!”
A second opinion consult may be helpful to determine whether continued therapy is right for you. For more information, contact our office.