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Ulcer Drugs Found to Cause Diarrhea and Colitis

January 05, 2006 | 22,838 views

People who take widely used heartburn drugs like Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium may be trading heartburn for another problem: a potentially dangerous diarrhea caused by Clostridium difficile bacteria.

C-diff, as it's known, causes severe diarrhea and the intestinal inflammation, colitis.

C-Diff Cases on the Rise

Researchers from McGill University in Montreal studied more than 18,000 patients from 1994 to 2004. They found that the number of C-diff cases has been increasing, from less than one case per 100,000 people in 1994, to 22 per 100,000 in 2004.
 
What's more, the researchers found that patients taking prescription heartburn drugs had a much higher risk than those who did not. The drugs reduce levels of gastric acid that control C-diff bacteria. The study found:

  • Patients taking proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec and Prevacid) were almost three times more likely to have a C-diff infection than non-users.
  • Patients taking H2 receptor antagonists (Pepcid and Zantac) were twice as likely to have a C-diff infection.

Antibiotics and Hospitalization Also Risks

People who are hospitalized, and those on antibiotics, also have a higher risk of C-diff infection.

But while some blame the increasing number of C-diff infections on overuse of antibiotics, the new study points to overuse of acid-fighting drugs as another likely culprit.


 

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Once you understand natural medical principles you will realize that the likelihood of any synthetic drug or chemical to be an authentic solution for any chronic health problem is about as likely as the <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Chicago Cubs ever winning a World Series (Cubs last won in 1908).

Relying on a drug to relieve your chronic health problem is a prescription for disaster, somewhat like trying to close a stuffed suitcase. You tuck it in on one side and now can close that side but by so doing so the other side pops up and now cannot be closed.

If you don't take some clothes out of the suitcase, or in the case of your health, address the underlying problems causing it, any short-term solution will likely cause you some problems -- and the longer you use it, the more likely the problem will be to happen and be more serious.

About 40 million Americans suffer from frequent heartburn, and drugs like Prilosec, Prevacid and Pepcid are the common solution.

The proton pump inhibitors like Prevacid and Prilosec and the H2 blocker agents like Tagament, Pepcid and Zantac are some of the worst drugs that you could possibly take.

Along with increasing your risk of C-diff infection, they significantly reduce the amount of acid you have, inhibiting your ability to properly digest food. Reduction of acid in the stomach also diminishes your primary defense mechanism for food-borne infections and will increase your risk of food poisoning.

These drugs have even been linked to an increased risk of pneumonia.

Subjecting yourself to this impressive list of potential side effects is one thing if the drugs are truly necessary. But when it comes to heartburn, this just simply isn't the case.

Here's something those drug makers surely don't want you to know:

Heartburn is one of the easiest medical problems to treat.

Here's a summary of an article I previously wrote on this:

  • Learn your nutritional type (you can take our free online test to do so) and follow a solid eating plan tailored to your specific type.
  • Drink up to one gallon of pure water every day combined with high doses of a good-quality probiotic (beneficial bacteria).
  • Eliminate sugars and grains from your diet.
  • Eat one to two cloves of fresh, raw garlic per day.
  • You can juice fresh red cabbage, as this is particularly healing to the gut. However, please note that many people (especially protein nutritional types) do not tolerate large amounts of fresh vegetable juices.

Finally, for a more in-depth discussion of how you can recognize and treat this condition, as well as why you'll want to avoid heartburn drugs, check out my past article, How to Recognize and Treat Upset Stomach and Heartburn.

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