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Stomach Acid Heartburn Drugs Raise risk of Dangerous Diarrhea

December 20th 2005

Stomach Acid Heartburn Drugs Raise risk of Dangerous Diarrhea

Intestinal tract

According to researchers from McGill University people that take H2 Blockers like Pepcid, Zantac and Tagamet have a greater risk of developing a potentially dangerous diarrhea bug known as Clostridium Difficile (C-diff). Users of proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium may have the same problem.

These medications are commonly used to treat GERD (gastritis - acid reflux disease - heartburn).  They work by suppressing stomach acid production.  The H2 blockers are available in over the counter strength, but my be prescribed by a doctor also.  The proton pump inhibitors are usually prescribed by a doctor.

The incidence of Clostridium difficile–associated disease (CDAD) has increased recently.  The symptoms have also become more severe.  C-diff usually occurs in hospitals and nursing homes.  The spores enter through the mouth and multiply in the gastrointestinal tract. 


C-diff is usually associated with antibiotic use.  Antibiotics can kill the good bacteria in your intestines that would normally keep the C-diff under control.  Sufferers usually complain about cramping.  This can develop into an intestinal inflammation known as colitis.

The researchers found that prescribed use of a gastric acid–suppressive agent was significantly associated with risk of community-acquired CDAD. According to the researchers “Proton pump inhibitors were associated with a higher risk than H2-receptor antagonists” (blockers).

The lead researcher was Sandra Dial, MD, MSc,.  The study will appear in the December 31st issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Books on Dieting

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:40 PM