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Bad News About Heartburn Drugs

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Kidney disease and heartburn drugs.

Proton pump inhibitors, a popular class of over-the-counter and prescription heartburn drugs that reduce stomach acid, are linked to increased risk for chronic kidney disease, according to a study that tracked more than 250,000 people for six or more years. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, also noted that up to 70 percent of such drugs may be overprescribed.

Earlier studies also found that the drugs could damage the kidneys and deplete magnesium levels, thereby increasing the risk for fractures, serious infections, and heart disease. Such drugs include Nexium, Dexilant, Prilosec, Zegerid, Prevacid, Protonix, Aciphex, Vimovo, Prilosec OTC, Zegerid OTC, and Prevacid 24HR.

Natural remedies offer safer relief. Try chewable DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice), about 15 minutes before a meal;
digestive enzymes taken with food; and probiotics. Eating smaller meals, more often, and drinking liquids about a half-hour before or after meals, rather than with food, can also help.