CAUTION: Ordinary Antacids May Lead to Pneumonia, Infections, and Osteoporosis in the Elderly

Antacids--drugs that are used to treat heartburn, acid reflux and ulcers-- are among the most widely prescribed medications in the world. And they don’t get much scrutiny from doctors or patients.

“When patients were admitted to our geriatric wards, a lot of them didn’t have clear indications for taking these drugs,” said Dr. Ian Logan, a Scottish physician. “And they’ve remained on them for a lot longer than they should have.” One of his patients had been taking an acid reducer for 15 years.

“They do have significant side effects, especially in older patients,” Dr. Logan said. Studies have linked antacids to an increased risk of pneumonia, gastrointestinal infections, antibiotic resistance, severe diarrhea, and possibly osteoporosis.“

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