Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Omeprazole and Lansoprazole reduce acid production in the stomach and are amongst the most commonly prescribed drugs. They are used to treat various conditions where there is abdominal pain and heartburn - most often acid reflux. 60% of adults will experience some type of acid reflux in a 12 month period.
The NICE guidelines state that PPIs should be prescribed for less than 8 weeks but many people, particularly the elderly, take them for considerably longer and sometimes up to decades. Concern is growing about the long term effects of continually taking these drugs. Evidence is mounting that they can increase the risks of heart disease, kidney disease, vulnerability to stomach infections, and dementia as well as weakening bones and causing mineral and vitamin deficiency such as magnesium and vitamin B12.
There needs to be a review of the risk/benefit balance of taking these drugs long term and changes made to how they are prescribed. Unfortunately, there can be a rebound effect in coming off drugs used to combat hyperacidity but if well managed this is usually short lived.
Herbal medicines can be used to help withdrawal from taking PPIs and offer an effective treatment for acid reflux. There is a wide range of herbal medicines which can be used for treatment. The herbs selected will depend on the causes and the symptoms experienced by each individual. The herbal actions include improving protection of the oesophageal lining, reducing acid production, reducing inflammation, promoting tissue healing, increasing the tone and effectiveness of the lower oesophageal sphincter, encouraging the stomach to empty its content into the duodenum, antibacterial, reducing gas production, optimising digestive enzyme production, and reducing nervous tension and the effects of stress.
You need to consider the long term benefits of taking PPIs. If you have acid reflux, take charge of your condition, make changes in diet and life style, and take herbal medicines as a safe, effective alternative.