Researchers Take Steps to Reduce PPI Use
Following years of advice to curb the over-reliance on proton pump inhibitors (PPI), researchers are starting to take concrete steps to reduce PPI use.
The latest guidance for deprescribing PPIs was issued in Canada earlier this month, where researchers from the University of Ottawa in Ontario have used evidence from multiple clinical studies to assist physicians. Dr. Barbara Farrell, one of the institution’s leading figures, explains that the guidelines are intended to offer “practical recommendations for making decisions about when and how to reduce the dose of PPIs – or stop them entirely.”
The guidelines range from timelines for de-escalation of the prescribed drugs to alternative treatment, such as H2 receptor antagonist therapy. Although some of these alternatives are considered less optimal solutions, a variety of paths is considered important to encourage medical professionals away from the drug and to help reduce PPI use.
PPIs are more commonly known by their brand names. Drugs like Nexium and Prilosec are among the most popular, although there are others that patients should know about. They are used to treat medical issues that relate to excessive stomach acid, such as ulcers and acid reflux.
Unfortunately, because they are available as over-the-counter prescriptions, some patients and their doctors have become too reliant on PPIs. Data has increasingly suggested that there are many adverse effects from this overreliance, from increased risk of kidney disease to the danger of infections and hip fractures. The most concerning studies suggest that PPI treatment could be to blame for hospitalization in as high as 65% of patients who use this category of drug.
For patients, the hardest part can be realizing that they have traded a relatively minor health issue for a major one. Media stories are full of anecdotal reports that demonstrate just how serious the side effects of PPIs can be.
The good news for anyone suffering side effects from the excessive prescription of the drug is that researchers found no evidence of significant harm to adults who reduce PPI use.
If you have suffered a negative reaction after using proton pump inhibitors, now is the time to ask your doctor about deprescribing this potentially dangerous medication. Many medical professionals are working hard to reduce PPI use and patients must play a role in this process. You might also be entitled to compensation in some circumstance, so be sure to request a free case evaluation if you have concerns about PPIs or any other drug that has caused you pain.
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