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10 Common Medications That May Trigger Acid Reflux

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The pharmaceutical companies are fully aware that acid-blocking medications fail to address the true cause of acid reflux, and that blocking stomach acid causes serious health complications. Yet they continue to sell billions of dollars worth of these drugs to unsuspecting Americans each year. Originally developed for short-term use (4-6 weeks), these powerful and dangerous medications are given out regularly to control basic acid reflux symptoms with never-ending refills. Many people take them continually for years and years, ultimately causing more problems than they solve.

Most people think that their acid reflux and indigestion are related to having too much stomach acid. And considering that this is what we’re told by pharmaceutical companies who want to sell us medications that block the production of acid by the stomach, this is not so surprising.

In most situations, nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, the majority of people who suffer from acid reflux actually have too little stomach acid. This makes sense in light of research that has shown that stomach acid secretion declines sharply as we age. It’s also well established in the scientific literature that acid reflux becomes more common as people get older. But if acid reflux were, in fact, caused by too much acid, wouldn’t these established truths seem contradictory?

chart

Mean stomach acid secretion from the second to the eighth decade.
(Source: Why Stomach Acid Is Good for You, Wright, 2001. p.20)

According to Jonathan Wright, MD, who wrote the book Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You, “When we carefully test people over age forty who’re having heartburn, indigestion and gas, over 90 percent of the time we find inadequate acid production by the stomach.” So far, the majority of patients I’ve worked with on acid reflux have responded well to therapies designed to increase stomach acid, while eliminating conditions that many physicians overlook as being linked with acid reflux symptoms.

Another factor that’s often overlooked is a patient’s list of current medications. In many cases, the patient is taking a medication that is known to trigger acid reflux symptoms. Here are the ten most common drugs to be on the lookout for.

 10 Medications That May Trigger Acid Reflux

There are certain medications that can directly irritate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and continue to be an ongoing cause of acid reflux symptoms. The primary culprits are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, acetaminophen and many others. In addition, antibiotics in the tetracycline class (tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, which are often used to treat infections of the urinary tract, respiratory tract and intestines) can cause severe irritation to the stomach and esophagus, even causing esophageal burns.

NSAIDs increase the risk of reflux and stomach ulcers in a way similar to stress. These medications relieve pain by blocking the production of prostaglandins that produce inflammation. However, due to their broad spectrum of action they also block the production of the prostaglandins that support mucus secretion in the stomach. As the production of mucus secretion declines, the vulnerability of the stomach lining to acid increases.

If you must take NSAIDs on an ongoing basis, which I don’t recommend, using natural cures that support the protective lining in the stomach is essential to reducing the risk of stomach upset and ulcers.

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