Women Could Tolerate Lower PPI Doses, Study Suggests
10. 10. 2016
Could you lower your heartburn medication dosage and still experience the same benefits? It depends on your gender, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.
An estimated 15 million Americans use proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, to control their acid reflux symptoms. These medications, known by names like Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid, help to control acid reflux by neutralizing an acid-forming enzyme in the stomach. However, multiple studies have linked long-term use of PPIs to severe health complications including bone loss, dementia, heart attack, and kidney failure. Research has also shown that higher doses of these medications are associated with a greater risk of side effects.
To determine whether PPIs could offer the same amount of relief in lower doses, researchers evaluated 100 patients with erosive esophagitis, a complication of GERD in which the lining of the esophagus becomes inflamed and ulcerated. Approximately half of the study participants were male and the other half were female. All participants had been on long-term PPI treatment.
Over the course of eight weeks, researchers had half the study participants reduce their PPI dosage by half. The other participants continued to take their medication at their usual dose. Before and after the study, researchers measured levels of gastrin, a peptide hormone that stimulates the release of gastric acid.
The researchers noted that females had higher levels of gastrin than males overall. However, women were also three times as likely to tolerate half of their prior PPI dose (Source: The Legal Examiner).
While the results if this study only indicated successful step-down treatment for women, both men and women can make simple lifestyle and dietary changes that will naturally reduce their heartburn symptoms and reduce the need for medication. These include:
- Losing excess weight
- Avoiding alcohol or tobacco products
- Eating smaller portions
- Giving food adequate time to digest before lying down
- Avoiding common heartburn trigger foods
- Not wearing tight-fitting clothing
- Getting adequate sleep