ANCHOR LEAD: AS EVIDENCE EMERGES AGAINST THE USE OF A POPULAR ANTACID MEDICATION, ALTERNATIVES DO EXIST. ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
The list of potential problems with the use of proton pump inhibitors, a very effective and popular over the counter remedy for heartburn, grows longer all the time. Redonda Miller, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, says its worth considering lower tech interventions for this common condition.
MILLER: Much of our problems with acid in our society are related to lifestyle. The proportion of patients who are obese is growing exponentially, the number one recommendation for reflux and heartburn issues should be weight loss. And then in addition to that counseling patients on eating late at night, drinking alcohol, caffeine, taking over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications on an empty stomach, all of that is valuable advice that we sometimes forget to deliver to our patients. :29
Miller says if an antacid is really needed, people should start with Tums or Maalox, and if these don’t work then move to another class called H2 blockers before choosing a proton pump inhibitor. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.