I am continually dismayed at how many of my patients with osteoporosis are taking PPIs. They have been prescribed proton pump inhibitors by their medical physicians to help reduce stomach acid and treat the symptoms of heart burn or GERD. But PPIs have the nasty side effect of reducing bone density and increasing a person's risk for breaking a bone. With GERD symptoms easily remedied through conservative, non-drug, therapy, I am always left scratching my head wondering...
Why in the world would doctors prescribe PPIs, especially to their patients with osteopenia or osteoporosis. Most cases of GERD respond well to conservative therapy of dietary changes and the use of probiotics and digestive aids to improve gut function. For the majority of people who experience GERD symptoms, they should not have to use PPIs. And, if they do, these medications should be taken in low doses.
Findings from a recent study out of Denmark indicate there is another reason to stay far away from PPIs if possible. Thomas S. Sehested, a medical doctor from the Danish Heart Foundation, showed an "association between use of PPIs and increased risk of first-time ischemic stroke and a positive dose-response relationship between PPI dose and stroke risk." Dr. Sehested's findings are based on the medical histories of 244,679 individuals. Histories were accessed from nationwide Danish registries in this observational study. The investigation looked at 4 different PPI medications and found that stroke risk increased from 33% to 79% depending on the particular drug being taken. Also, the higher the dose, the higher the risk for stroke.
Sehested, T.S., et al. American Heart Association (AHA) 2016 Scientific Sessions. Abstract 18462: Proton Pump Inhibitor Use Increases the Associated Risk of First-Time Ischemic Stroke. A Nationwide Cohort Study. Presented November 15, 2016.