Antacid Medications Cause Clostridium Difficile Infections & Bone Fractures

July 17, 2010 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Antacid Medications Cause Clostridium Difficile Infections & Bone Fractures
Three studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine show that commonly over-prescribed antacids increase the risk for dangerous intestinal bacterial infection of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) as well as increase the risk of any type of bone fracture by 25%.

Each year there are 113 million prescriptions for proton pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, and Protonix. Prevacid and Prilosec are also available over the counter. This accounts for over 14 billion dollars in sales, the third selling class of drug in America. Shockingly, even the medical profession acknowledges that up to 69% of the prescriptions are inappropriate. It is the classic example of using fire retardant to put out a forest fire, even a small brush fire, without any attention to “managing the health of the forest.”

Stomach acid is the first line of defense against all germs that are swallowed, which is basically any germ in the air. This is why these medications are already associated with a 30% increased risk for the flu. However, the documented new risk of getting C. diff in the first place1 or having it come back2 once treated indicates that these medications are causing a serious disruption of digestive health. C. diff is what is known as an opportunistic infection, tending to take hold in a compromised digestive tract in conjunction with active immune suppression. The overuse of these medications is causing tens of thousands of difficult chronic infections. These infections are becoming superbugs that are frequently resistant to antibiotic treatments.

Another study showed the antacids increase the risk of a spine fracture by 47% and any type of fracture3 by 25% in postmenopausal women. While bone mineral density did not show a loss in this study group, bone strength certainly did.

Americans like a quick fix and a lot of Americans have indigestion. Unfortunately, like most of Western medicine drugs, this is no quick fix at all. These drugs suppress symptoms while wreaking havoc with digestion, immunity, bones, and even promote poor metabolism and weight gain. Their reckless overuse, even by existing prescribing guidelines, shines a spotlight on the ineptitude of a profession that pretends to be the authority on health.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ in the first place    
  2. ^ Antacids Increase Risk for Recurrent Clostridium Difficile Infection  Arch Intern Med.  Amy Linsky, MD; Kalpana Gupta, MD, MPH; Elizabeth V. Lawler, DSc; Jennifer R. Fonda, MA; John A. Hermos, MD
  3. ^ Antacids and Fracture Risk  Arch Intern Med.  Shelly L. Gray, PharmD, MS; Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD; Joseph Larson, MS; John Robbins, MD; Jane A. Cauley, DrPH; JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH; Zhao Chen, PhD

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