That a medication is available without a prescription does not mean that it does not have side effects and that it does not pose other dangers. An example is the IBP, a popular type of antacid that can damage the kidneys, especially when taken in the long term.
The acidity is a result of the stomach acid being returned to the esophagus, the tube that goes from the mouth to the stomach. Frequently, the fault has a weakness in the muscle of its base. If it opens up, acids may rise, causing a burning sensation in the chest.
More than 15 million Americans use proton pump inhibitors, or IBP, to treat acidity, either prescribed or over-the-counter, which include well-known brands (in Uruguay are the following), according to researchers at the University of Washington, at St. Louis.
Although these medications relieve the symptoms rapidly, they have been associated with renal disease, and the longer they are taken, the greater the risk, the researchers found. They followed nearly 200,000 people for five years, and noticed kidney disease in 15 percent of IBP users, compared to 11 percent of people who used H2 blockers, another antacid.
IBP users have a significantly higher risk of renal failure, compared to users of H2 blockers, although it is rare, reports Len Canter, a specialist journalist published by HealthDay News. IBPs have also been associated with bone fractures, infections, vitamin B12 deficiency and even dementia, although the exact links are not clear. So if you need an IBP or even a H2 blocker, use it for as little time as possible.
Occasional acidity is common, and changes in lifestyle may alleviate the discomfort and the need for medication.
How to calm acidity
• Make small and frequent meals, and eat slowly.
• Stop eating at least three hours before going to bed.
• Do not lie down or exercise right after eating.
• Lift the head of the bed slightly to create a slope when sleeping.
• Get rid of tight jeans and other clothes that press on your stomach.
• Take a diary to determine which foods and beverages could lead to their acidity. Chances include greasy and spicy food, chocolate, coffee, tea and soft drinks.
Beyond the foregoing, do not ignore a chronic acidity. If it occurs more than twice a week, it does not respond to the short-term use of an antacid or it begins to interfere with your daily life, make an appointment with your doctor. It could be a sign of a more serious health condition.