Consumer advocate calls PPIs ‘a multi-billion dollar business built upon false advertising’

nexium art 257 20080415075633 Consumer advocate calls PPIs a multi billion dollar business built upon false advertising“It’s a multi-billion dollar business built upon false advertising….It is no less than subtle population control,” writes Bob Livingston about the anti-acid drugs called proton pump inhibitors or PPIs, on the website he founded, Personal Liberty.

According to his bio on the site, Livingston is “an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs as well as issues of privacy (both personal & financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.”

Livingston goes on to say, “Unknown to the public, almost all symptoms of acid indigestion are not an indication of too much acid at all. They are a sure sign that there is not enough stomach acid.” He says that heartburn symptoms are caused instead of by an excess of stomach acid, by too little of the stomach acid that aids in digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients, and that food is fermenting in the stomach.

Well-known drugs Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec, all PPIs, are available both over the counter and as prescriptions, and millions of Americans take them to treat frequent heartburn and acid reflux.

Not only can people self-diagnose based on symptoms that they might not understand, but according to WebMD “one recent study of long-term care facilities in the Midwest found that 65 percent of people taking a PPI didn’t have any diagnosis that might explain why the drug was prescribed.” WebMD reports in 2010 researchers found that only 35 percent of 946 patients receiving PPI therapy in a hospital setting were prescribed PPIs for an appropriate upper GI diagnosis.

According to Livingston, Nexium grossed $6.1 billion in 2013 alone.

There are significant side effects connected with these drugs. One of the most recent in a long string of dangerous conditions that researchers have been linking to PPIs is chronic kidney disease (CKD). Several studies published this year have found that proton pump inhibitor use is associated with a higher risk of incident CKD.

Livingston mentions the study, published in JAMA in February, noting a 20 to 50 percent higher risk compared to nonusers of PPIs.

A study published in April in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology specifically compared PPI users to patients using H2 blockers, following these patients over the course of five years. This study found that PPI users were more likely to develop both CKD and end-stage renal disease.

Livingston offers his own advice for alternate remedies for the symptoms that have been driving so many people to use PPIs. His suggested remedies include: taking betaine hydrochloride (6 to 8 tablets daily), using citrocarbonate or an aluminum-free sodium bicarbonate powder (baking soda) dissolved in water for temporary relief, adding lemon juice to your meals or water, adding a half to 1 teaspoon of sea salt to a glass of water for a few days, or adding 1 or 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water.

Personal Liberty
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
JAMA Internal Medicine
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology