Author: Dr. Gary Huber

Acid Blocking medications are dangerous and traditional medicine is failing to offer solutions that stop reflux and block the risk of esophageal cancer.


The FDA reports, “There is a possible increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine if you take certain drugs for heartburn, acid reflux, or ulcers.”

The drugs belong to a class of medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which work by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. They are available both as prescription and as over-the-counter (OTC) medications. The prescription PPIs treat conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers in the stomach and small intestine, and inflammation of the esophagus. 

The prescription PPIs are

  • Nexium
  • Dexilant
  • Prilosec
  • Zegerid
  • Prevacid
  • Protonix
  • Aciphex
  • Vimovo

The over-the-counter PPIs are

  • Prilosec OTC (omeprazole)
  • Zegerid OTC (omeprazole)
  • Prevacid 24HR (lansoprazole)

Advice for Consumers

The FDA does not recommend the use of these drugs for more than 14 days. For resistant problems then a second course of 14 days can be employed but long term use is very problematic. Studies show that long term use increase risk for many issues beyond simple bone loss. In 2015 Dr. Shah and his group at Stanford published evidence of a link between PPI use and increase risk for heart attack. In 2016 Dr. Gomm published a study linking PPI use to increased risk for dementia.

In 2014 Dr. F. Hvid-Jensen  and his group studied 9883 cases of Barrett’s esophagitis and the use if PPI’s over more than 10 years.  Their findings were surprising:

 No cancer-protective effects from PPI’s were seen. In fact, high-adherence and long-term use of PPI were associated with a significantly increased risk of adenocarcinoma or high-grade dysplasia. Until the results from future studies hopefully can elucidate the association further, continuous PPI therapy should be directed at symptom control and additional modalities considered as aid or replacement.”

There is more we need to study as multiple studies have shown conflicting results but the bottom line appears clear.  Simply taking a PPI indefinably without searching for the CAUSE of the esophagitis has not been proven to be a successful strategy and it does assume a good degree of risk.

What has been shown is that Barrett’s esophagitis is reversible if you change your diet, explore food sensitivity testing, avoid certain known food triggers and use healing elements to repair the lining of the esophagus, stomach and intestines.  PPI do not offer any repair they simply stop acid production. But acid is not the real issue. The picture is more complex than that but it is manageable and there are solutions.