Acid Blockers - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/25/04-Tyler

Acid Blockers

Heartburn drugs are some of the most widely used over the counter and prescription medicines in the country. John Moore says when he doesn't take them -- life is unbearable.
 
"It is one of the most frustrating things you can ever go through-- you don't sleep. You feel miserable during the day, you can eat or drink something that one day doesn't bother you, and the next it's indigestion constantly, " says Moore.

 20 to 40% of us are just like John and have tried acid blockers to treat reflux. But stomach acid can be good for you says Dr. Jeff Williams.

"Stomach acid is one of our natural defenses where the acidity of the stomach prevents bacteria from growing, now new research shows blocking that acid may increase the risk of pneumonia. The bacteria that grows in the stomach can reflux back into the food pipe, and go back down into the airway growing in the lungs, creating a pneumonia," says Dr. Williams. 

By taking these medications you're making the gastric pH more hospitable for the bacteria. Drugs like Prilosec were associated with nearly a 90 percent increased risk of pneumonia in the study. Notably, the more the drugs were used, the greater the risk, especially if you have asthma or emphysema.

John says this information won't get him to stop taking his medicine. However, it will make him more cautious this cold and flu season.

People over sixty have less acid secretion. Experts say they should use medicines at the lowest dose possible, and only when necessary.

Michell Mortensen, reporting.

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