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Could Stomach Acid Drugs Do More Harm Than Good?

According to a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration, certain stomach acid drugs may increase the risk of a serious intestinal bacteria infection called Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea (CDAD).

The drugs in question are know as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and include Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, and Zegeridfall. They are prescribed to treat acid reflux, stomach ulcers, and other conditions, and work by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach.

According to the FDA, factors that may predispose an individual to developing CDAD include advanced age, certain chronic medical conditions, and taking broad spectrum antibiotics. Treatment for CDAD includes the replacement of fluids and electrolytes and the use of special antibiotics. However, in rare cases, it may require surgery.

The FDA is working with manufacturers to include information about the increased risk of CDAD with use of PPIs in the drug labels. In the meantime, the FDA is offering the following advice for patients and OTC consumers:

  • Seek immediate care if you use PPIs and develop diarrhea that does not improve. This may be a sign of Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea (CDAD).
  • Your healthcare professional may order laboratory tests to check if you have CDAD.
  • Do not stop taking your prescription PPI drug without talking to your healthcare professional.
  • Discuss any questions or concerns about your PPI drug with your healthcare professional.
  • If you take an OTC PPI drug, follow the directions on the package carefully.
  • Report any side effects you experience to the FDA MedWatch program using the information in the “Contact FDA” box at the bottom of the page.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a dangerous or defective product, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.