Dr. Weil explains the long-term risk factors associated with antacid use.
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Long Term Risk Factors of Antacid Use Antacids are—I don’t want to talk about antacids. Antacids are things like Tums and Rolaids®--those are okay in moderation, but the concern today is about these prescribed and over-the-counter drugs that inhibit acid production in the stomach. These are very powerful drugs. They are not intended for long-term use. They are widely given out for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and other digestive problems. I think there are so many risks associated with them. They block absorption of key nutrients, including calcium for example. They may increase the risk of stomach cancer . They may increase the risk of other kinds of chronic GI conditions. Stomach acid is our main defense against infection that comes in by the oral route, so if you are walking around with no acid in your stomach, you are at greatly increased risk of serious infection that you get exposed to that way. They probably increase risk of osteoporosis in women. So I think we are going to hear more and more research about the dangers of these acid suppressive drugs.