Consumer Group Warns of Dependency Issues with Acid Reflux Medications

The consumer watchdog group, Public Citizen, this week asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to warn Americans that use of acid reflux medications, otherwise known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) can be incredibly habit forming and also lead to the onset of several other serious side effects. Given the widespread use and popularity of these medications, Public Citizen formally petitioned the FDA to require the drugs carry the agency’s strongest possible warning, a black-box label.

In its petition, the watchdog group specifically cited that patients taking proton-pump inhibitors on a regular basis are at increased risk of developing rebound acid hypersecretion, which ultimately results in more severe acid reflux symptoms. The greater the acid reflux symptoms, the greater the need for medication, creating a cycle of life-long dependency on the drugs.

Additionally, Public Citizen outlined several additional safety concerns associated with use of these medications, some of which include: severe magnesium deficiencies, painful muscle cramps, cardiac arrhythmias, and fractures of the hip, spine and wrist.

The specific acid reflux medications in question includes, Prilosec (omeprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole) and Prevacid (lansoprazole), all of which are approved to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastric ulcers, erosive esophagitis and gastric bleeding.

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