If you are someone who takes prescribed medicine for reflux you are likely to be aware of changes that came in to effect in May with respect to what Doctor’s are able to prescribe. Lower doses or shorter lengths of treatment are recommended where possible.
In Australia and in other countries Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) are known to be prescribed too often and used for too long without people having their treatment reviewed. They are the second most commonly used type of medicine. These medicines are very helpful for people suffering with symptoms of reflux but they can have side effects. Some of these medicines are available over the counter as well as on prescription.
PPI side effects
- Deficiencies in vitamin B12, calcium and magnesium
- Kidney damage
- Increased risk of osteoporotic fractures
- Gastric cancer
This list is scary and serious side effects are rare but can occur and that is why it is important that treatment is reviewed.
Rather than people staying on the same dose of their PPI indefinitely it is recommended that, if they do not have symptoms, the dose is reduced with the aim of taking a lower dose of the medicine or being able to stop it altogether and just use it on an as needed basis.
If symptoms of reflux are occurring while a PPI is being used then these people will usually need to be seen by a specialist.
Ways to reduce reflux
- Avoid or limit foods that cause reflux such as spicy/fatty foods, tea, coffee, alcohol
- Avoid meals that are large and do not lit down after eating
- Stop smoking
- Limit the use of anti-inflammatories
- Discuss with your Pharmacist or Doctor the possibility of other prescription medicines causing reflux