Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are some of the most over-prescribed medications out there. You might have seen popular advertisements for them.
You know them by names like Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium, and Protonix. Some varieties require prescriptions, others you can get over the counter.
Scientists are now looking into the safety of PPIs, questioning if doctors are prescribing them too frequently.
An article in Social Science and Medicine determined that during the 1990s, prescriptions for PPIs increased by over 400%. There is considerable debate among researchers about the safety of PPIs.
Some scientists believe PPIs are safe. A study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology investigated the potential side effects of PPIs including vitamin B12 deficiencies, weakening bones, and carcinoid tumor development.
In general, doctors in this study found little evidence to support the idea that PPIs were dangerous, however they still recommended that they be used only for people who absolutely needed them.
Despite the lack of side effects noted by some researchers, Harvard Medical School still acknowledges a myriad of potential side effects.
Harvard researchers continue to cite fracture risk, pneumonia risk, C. dificile infection, Iron and B12 deficiency as potential side effects.
Their study of FDA warnings and analysis of the current state of PPI research suggests that taking PPIs “is a risk-benefit balancing act.”