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How Can the Long-term Use of Acid Reflux Drugs Cause Cancer?

Reflux drugs are also known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). They are used to heal heartburn and acid reflux; an example of such medicines are Pantoprazole, Lansoprazole, Rabeprazole, Dexlansoprazole, Omeprazole and Esomeprazole. PPIs are the most prescribed drugs in the United States.

The drugs have been on sale for over 25 years. In recent years, the drugs have been in the market without prescription. Some researchers and physicians are asking whether the use of PPIs have long term effects such as causing cancer. The use of acid reflux drugs:

  • How proton pump inhibitors work – When the stomach digests food, it produces gastric acids which aid in digestion. PPIs are used to shut down Proton pumps, thus cutting down the production of gastric acid. The body reacts by producing more gastric acid. Too much gastric acid can lead to the growth of gastrointestinal tumors, which increase the risk of stomach and colorectal cancer. Research conducted in 2017 and 2018 by the University of Hong Kong and Swedish nationals indicated that the long-term use of PPIs might increase the risk of stomach cancer. Bacteria that live in the intestines can cause ulcers, which increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
  • What PPIs patients should do – Patients have rebound symptoms after cutting PPIs abruptly. Doctors advise that patients should seek professional advice about their prescriptions. If you modify your diet and change your lifestyle, then you could possibly get off PPIs. Examples of lifestyle changes include reducing alcohol intake, avoid smoking, and spicy foods, reducing caffeine and not eating late at night. Lifestyle and diet should be your base of treatment. If it does not work, you may need to be on PPIs therapy for a longer period.

You should consult your physician about the long-term usage of acid reflux drugs and follow their recommended treatment options.

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