bottle of medications that have fallen over, with text bubble saying acid blockers aren't meant for long term use

I often see patients who have been taking acid blockers long term, not realizing they were only meant and designed for short term use. This article will shed light on the evidence that acid blockers must not be used long term.

What Are Acid Blockers?

Acid blockers work by reducing stomach acid production. Acid is vital in protein digestion, mineral absorption and protection against pathogenic bacteria.

They are actually quite effective in multiple gastro-intestinal disorders including: peptic ulcer disease (and associated bleeding), eradicating H. pylori, Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, SIBO, GERD and Dyspepsia [1].

In fact, the safety profile of acid blockers short term, is quite good, with little to no adverse effects when taken appropriately. Issues arise when acid-blockers are used long term and inappropriately.

Acid Blocking Medications Shouldn’t Be Taken Long Term

Quite surprisingly, even the manufactures themselves don’t recommend taking these medications for more than 1 year, some even recommend no more than 6 months.

Official labels of lansoprazole (Prevacid), pantoprazole (Protonix), rabeprazole (Aciphex) and omeprazole (Zegerid) state: “controlled studies do/did not extend beyond 12 months [2].

Official labels for esomeprazole (Nexium) states “controlled studies do not extend beyond 6 months” [2].

The drug fact panel for omeprazole, an over the counter medication says: consumers are advised to take no more than one 14 day course of treatment of therapy every 4 months” [2].

In other words no research has been conducted on acid blockers in humans for more than 6 or 12 months. These medications are not meant for long term use, and beyond that, there are no studies investigating the adverse effects beyond 12 months.

The concept of long term maintenance is therefore not safe. None of the official labels of acid blockers recommend a specific time span for maintenance therapy [2], which likely indicates they are not intended to be used long term for ‘maintenance’.

Proof Long-Term Use of Acid Blockers is Unsafe

When a person uses acid blockers long term, a wide range of associated conditions can arise. They range from mineral deficiencies to infections. Please click here to read more about the dangers of long-term acid blocking medications.

Work with Your Naturopath

We know acid blockers were never intended for long term use, and we have enough research to show how dangerous they can be. Patients who are looking for alternatives to acid blockers to relieve their gut issues may benefit from seeing a naturopath . We first identify why reflux or GERD may be occurring and work towards eradicating the cause of these symptoms. Optimal gut health is achievable, if we can identify the underlying causes.


Interested in learning more?

Read on in our series of articles on Gut Health!

About the Author - Dr. Johann de Chickera

Dr. Johann de Chickera is a naturopath at Absolute Health and Wellness in Paris Ontario

Dr. Johann is a licensed naturopathic doctor and co-owner of Absolute Health and Wellness. He completed his 4-year degree at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). His clinical focus lies in chronic disease, such as those related to the Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, and Immune Systems.

His approach to medicine relies on working with the patient to come up with a feasible, multi-factorial approach that addresses all complaints at once. He employs a strong background in diagnostic medicine and human physiology and pathology to diagnose and treat. His treatment involve a combination of nutritional counselling, botanical medicine, eastern medicine (acupuncture), nutraceutical supplementation and hands on physical medicine.

To book in please call us at (519) 442-2206 or click here.

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