Did you know that the heartburn drugs that you take for momentary relief can lead to a major risk like a heart attack? Don’t be surprised.Here’s the proof.
Commonly used heartburn drugs
In India and many other countries, these drugs are commonly available over the counter medications that is accessible to everyone. Some common heartburn drugs in India are:
- Omeprazole (Prilosec, Omeez)
- Aspirin and Omeprazole (Yosprala)
- Lansoprazole (Prevacid, Prevacid IV, Prevacid 24-Hour)
- Dexlansoprazole (Dexilent, Dexilent Solutab)
- Rabeprazole (Aciphex, Aciphex Sprinkle,Rabiz)
- Ranitidin (Rantac,Zantac)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Famotidine (Pepcid)
- Pantoprazole (Protonix,Pantacid,Pan)
- Esomeprazole (Nexium, Nexium IV, Nexium 24 HR)
- Esomeprazole magnesium/Naproxen (Vimovo)
- Omeprazole/Sodium bicarbonate (Zegerid, Zegerid OTC)
How do these Heartburn drugs work?
These drugs come under the category of “Proton Pump Inhibitors” whose action is pronounced reduction/inhibition in the production of stomach acids. Proton Pump Inhibitors are widely sold drugs around the world and among them, Omeprazole and Ranitidin are included in the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines.
The mechanism of action is by inhibiting the production of acid secretion in the stomach by 99%. The gastric juice contains several proton ions. These drugs make use of the proton ions present in the gastric juice and becomes protonated (activated) thereby deactivating it.
Along with the potential benefits they provide, there are several side effects too.
Side-effects of heartburn drugs:
- Bleeding gums
- blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- blood in the urine or stools
- bloody, black, or tarry stools
- chest pain
- cough or hoarseness
- fever with or without chills
- a general feeling of tiredness or weakness
- high fever
- joint or muscle pain
- painful or difficult urination
- pale skin
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- red, irritated eyes
- red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- swollen glands
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
“People who take PPIs for about a year have about a 25% higher risk of death,” says Al-Aly, who's also an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Because millions of people take PPIs regularly, that 25% chance could translate into thousands of deaths a year, Al-Aly said.
Ayurvedic alternatives to heartburn drugs
The following Ayurvedic medicines are beneficial in treating acid reflux or heartburn: