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Study: Acid Reflux Drugs Cause Rebound Symptoms

Stopping PPI Drugs Can Lead to Increased Acid Reflux

“PPIs Over-Prescribed” continued...

She adds that the benefits of PPI treatment still appear to far outweigh the risks for patients with established acid reflux disease.

“Most patients with acid reflux disease need an acid-suppressing drug and they should not be concerned about this,” she says. “But millions of people are prescribed these drugs for uncertain indications and in these patients we run the risk of inducing the symptoms that these drugs are used to treat.”

PPI researcher Kenneth McColl, MD, of the University of Glasgow, tells WebMD that the drugs are now widely prescribed for a host of upper GI complaints even though there is little evidence that they are effective for these uses.

“It is clear that doctors need to be more selective in prescribing these drugs,” he says. “They should not be given to patients with upper GI symptoms on the off chance that the symptoms are acid related.”

In response to the study, a spokesman for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, which markets Prilosec and Nexium, questioned the study design and its relevance to patients with acid reflux symptoms.

“This study was conducted in healthy volunteers, and the authors acknowledge that they can’t be sure that the conclusion can be carried over to patients who have started PPI therapy because of dyspeptic symptoms,” Blair Hains tells WebMD.

Hains cited a 2007 review of research examining rebound acid hypersecretion, which concluded that there was not strong evidence that withdrawal from PPIs is associated with a clinically relevant increase in acid production.

Calls to Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which manufacturers Prevacid, were not returned by publication time.

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