How are proton pump inhibitors misused?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Approximately 15 million Americans suffer from heartburn every single day. To get relief, many take OTC drugs called proton pump inhibitors, or PPIS, that work by shutting down stomach-acid production. Frequent PPI use has been shown to form some sort of drug dependency in as little as a few weeks. Also the low-acid environment created by PPIs decreases absorption of calcium, which increases fracture risk (especially in women) and is also linked to vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause nerve damage. Because of this, it is generally recommended that you do not take a PPI for more than 1 year. Follow the directions on the package.

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