Standing in front of this corndog and fried food refluxitorium, Larry the Cable Guy tells us to take one Prilosec in the morning and be heartburn free all day long. He implies that if you take AstraZeneca’s purple pill, you can eat anything you want.
Nothing could be further than the truth. In fact, this strategy—cover up the heartburn but don’t control the disease—is probably why acid-reflux-caused esophageal cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the United States, up a whopping 850% since the 1970s.
Purple pills may stop some symptoms but have little or no effect on the progression of the disease. I should know; I am one of the world’s experts on reflux, and virtually every patient who comes to see me with complications of reflux is already on a purple pill, so in truth they don’t work very well.
Purple pills don’t control reflux! They just cover up its more serious manifestations.
The purple pills are a class of drugs called PPIs (proton pump inhibitors). They do not stop reflux, and they never should have been allowed (by the FDA) to be sold over the counter. Here’s why. After people take a PPI, they may feel better. But when they quit taking the PPI, they get rebound hyperacidity. That’s right, when you quit taking purple pills, you make more stomach acid than before. And so sales of purple pills escalate in a vicious cycle: You have heartburn and take purple pills—get some relief—then you stop purple pill—have rebound (worse acidity than before) —then you have to start taking the pills again. Wow! What a great strategy for the greedy drug companies that make the purple pills.
Much safer (and without the rebound hyperacidity) to take on an as-needed basis are the H2A class of drugs, including ranitidine (Zantac) and famotidine (Pepcid). PPIs should be taken under a doctor’s supervision, and when the patient is ready, tapering of the PPI should be done using H2As.
Fact is, the only really effective, long-term treatment of acid reflux is through a healthy diet and lifestyle. Overeating and overdrinking are key factors, and high-fat, high-acid foods are poison. I have written a lot about this topic in this blog and in my New York Times best-selling book, Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure. Click here for more references on my reflux work
When stupidity and greed collide? Wake up America; what you eat may be eating you!