The second issue is the one that perhaps is much more important, stomach cancer.
It may be considered 'safe' to use these very mas marketed drugs if you have a concern for the health of your heart. And it may not, over longterm use. Of course no one is telling.
And what else they are not telling you, is something very important, and something we've addressed in other posts on this BLOG.
Nexium and Prilosec block what is called the P450 Cytochrome Pathway.
The P450 Cytochrome Pathway is critical to detoxification physiology that occurs in your liver.
When you use these drugs consistently your body incurs a risk of severe toxicity and the degelopment of stomach cancer, or cancers in corresponding organs such as the liver, pancreas, et al.
Now, when you have 'heartburn' one of the reasons is that you have TOO LITTLE hydrochloric acid in your stomach and you don't digest protein very well. Another is that you do not chew your food thoroughly, because, in case you did not know, digestion starts in the mouth.
It's that gulp and go process that dogs do all the time, but they are geared up for it by their physiology.
Another concern, especially if you are very, very young or over 35, is that you do not have adequate digestive enzymes to help you with proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
Then you could try a teaspoon of raw organic apple cider vinegar in a glass of water about 15 minutes before you eat, or a lick of celtic or Nine Times Taoist salt.
20 mg Prilosec Rx costs $360.97, active ingredients cost $0.52, profit is 69,417%.
And for your additional consideration -
Long term side effect of stomach acid blockers such as Pepcid, Tagamet, Zantac, Prilosec.
Potentially harmful acidity develops in the tissues of the body when the system's ability to eliminate the acids that are produced (metabolic waste, acid forming foods, and the system's various stress mechanisms) is reduced. The stomach is one of the primary venting mechanisms for this build up of hydrogen ions (acids are typified by an abundance of such ions) and when our stomach's acid producing mechanisms are pharmaceutically inhibited, the hydrogen ion concentrations become too abundant to be efficiently eliminated by other pathways of elimination. Consequently, the acids build up in the tissues and fluid compartments of the body, where they greatly interfere with the normal cellular functions. The overly acidic condition of the intercellular fluid compartment makes it an ideal breeding ground for harmful micro-organisms, creating an enormous burden on the immune system. This build-up can lead to fatigue, poor mental and emotional health and eventual chronic degenerative illness.
Stomach Acid Suppression and Increased Risk of Pneumonia -
The normal acidity of the stomach via hydrochloric acid production acts as a natural protective barrier against bacteria and viruses. Apparently, chronic use of acid suppressing medications increases risk for pneumonia. Normally the gastric pH is below 4, an environment that kills most pathogens. However, the dispensing of antacids can interfere with this natural barrier and lead to increased colonization of ingested pathogens.
Risk of Community-Acquired Pneumonia and Use of Gastric Acid-Suppressive Drugs. Laheij, RJF, et al. JAMA 292,16, 2004
Nutrient Depletion caused by acid blocking drugs -
Lansoprazole: 1) Omeprazole, a drug closely related to lansoprazole, taken for seven days led to a near-total loss of stomach acid in healthy people and interfered with the absorption of a single administration of 120 mg of beta-carotene.1 It is unknown whether repeated administration of beta-carotene would overcome this problem or if absorption of carotenoids from food would be impaired. Persons taking omeprazole and related acid-blocking drugs for long periods may want to have carotenoid blood levels checked, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and consider supplementing with carotenoids. 2) Folic acid is needed by the body to utilize vitamin B12. Antacids, including lansoprazole, inhibit folic acid absorption.2 People taking antacids are advised to supplement with folic acid. 3) Omeprazole, a drug closely related to lansoprazole, has interfered with the absorption of vitamin B12 from food (though not supplements) in some,3 4 but not all, studies.5 6 This interaction has not yet been reported with lansoprazole. However, a fall in vitamin B12 status may result from decreased stomach acid caused by acid blocking drugs, including lansoprazole.
Omeprazole: 1) Folic acid is needed by the body to utilize vitamin B12. Antacids, including omeprazole, inhibit folic acid absorption.1 People taking antacids are advised to supplement with folic acid. 2) Omeprazole interferes with the absorption of vitamin B12 from food (though not from supplements) in some2 3 4 5 but not all6 7 studies. A true deficiency state, resulting in vitamin B12-deficiency anemia, has only been reported in one case.8 The fall in vitamin B12 status may result from the decrease in stomach acid required for vitamin B12 absorption from food caused by the drug. This problem may possibly be averted by drinking acidic juices when eating foods containing vitamin B12. However, all people taking omeprazole need to either supplement with vitamin B12 or have their vitamin B12 status checked on a yearly basis. Even relatively small amounts of vitamin B12 such as 10–50 mcg per day, are likely to protect against drug induced vitamin depletion.
Our advice - ask what the risks are versus benefit before you accept a drug.
Ask what options are available, starting with sound nutrition and lifestyle changes.
FDA: Heartburn drugs seem OK for heart
9 August 2007
The popular heartburn drugs Prilosec and Nexium don't appear to spur heart problems, say preliminary U.S. and Canadian probes announced Thursday.
The Food and Drug Administration and its Canadian counterpart began reviewing the drugs, used by tens of millions of people, back in May, when manufacturer AstraZeneca provided them an early analysis of two small studies that suggested the possibility of a risk.
Those studies compared treating the chronic heartburn known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, with either of the two drugs or with surgery, and tracked patients for five to 14 years. The company's initial analysis counted more patients treated with drugs who had had heart attacks, heart failure or heart-related sudden death.
The FDA followed up on those studies, and found that they seemed skewed: Patients who underwent surgery were younger and healthier than those treated by drugs, suggesting the heart link was a coincidence.
While the studies' designs make safety assessments difficult, many of the participants who developed heart problems had risk factors before starting the drugs, Health Canada said Thursday.
The FDA then looked at 14 additional studies of the drugs, and found no evidence of heart risks. In fact, in a few studies where patients received either medication or a dummy pill, those who took the heartburn drugs actually had a lower incidence of heart problems.
The FDA plans to complete its probe within three months, but issued a public notice Thursday that it "does not believe that health care providers or patients should change either their prescribing practices or their use of these products at this time."
Health Canada reached the same initial conclusion. It also urged doctors and patients to make no changes until its own probe is finished by year's end, noting that untreated GERD can lead to serious complications.
The drugs are among a family of acid-reducers known as proton pump inhibitors. FDA's Dr. Paul Seligman said Thursday that while the agency's focus is on Nexium and Prilosec, it is "interested in the data from all similar products" as it looks for all available evidence to settle the heart question.
Nexium is the world's No. 2 selling drug, with 2006 sales of $6.7 billion, according to health care research firm IMS Health.