Take Medication for Stomach Acid, Beware of Diarrhea

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported that a class of medications call Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) is associated with a risk of developing Clostridium difficile-association diarrhea (CDAD).

A diagnosis of CDAD should be considered for patients taking PPIs who develop diarrhea that does not improve. The FDA is working with manufacturers to include information about the increased risk of CDAD with use of PPIs in the drug labels.

Proton pump inhibitors are used to treat heartburn, gastroesophageal reflex disease (GERD), and stomach and small intestine ulcers. These medications are marketed under various brand and generic names, both prescription and over-the-counter products. Brands and generics specifically listed by the FDA are:

  • AcipHex (rabeprazole sodium)
  • Dexilant (dexlansoprazole)
  • Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium)
  • Omeprazole (omeprazole) Over-the-Counter (OTC)
  • Prevacid (lansoprazole) and OTC Prevacid 24hr
  • Prilosec (omeprazole)  and OTC
  • Protonix (pantoprazole sodium)
  • Vimovo (esomeprazole magnesium and naproxen)
  • Zegerid (omeprazole and Sodium bicarbonate) and OTC

About Clostridium difficile (C. difficile)

According to the Mayo Clinic, Clostridiume difficult is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. In recent years, Clostridium difficile infections have become more frequent, more severe and more difficult to treat. Each year, tens of thousands of people in the United States get sick from C. difficile.

Infection with C. difficult can cause diarrhea that does not improve. Symptoms include watery stool, abdominal pain, and fever, and patients may go on to develop more serious intestinal conditions.

What to Do

If you take one of the PPI medications and develop diarrhea that does not improved after a couple of days, contact your healthcare professional. Seek medical care also if you have abdominal pain or fever while taking PPIs. Doctors are being advised to use the lowest dose of PPI for the shortest amount of time possible, while still being appropriate for the condition being treated.

To read the full Safety Information from the FDA, click here:  Proton Pump Inhibitors

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