Doctors often needlessly prescribe antacid pills leading to health risks
Around 2.8 million people in the Netherlands are damaging their health by taking antacid medication unnecessarily, Zorginsitutt Nederland reported. Strong stomach acid suppressants are often unduly prescribed by doctors, according to the healthcare organization.
All too often when stomach problems do not improve after a patient changes their lifestyle, doctors immediately resort to strong antacid pills. “It is stupid that nearly three million people use such medication”, said Mattijns Numan. The professor of general medical practice at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) spoke with newspaper AD.
The long-term use of strong antacid pills can induce health problems, such as an increased risk of infection, brittle bones and chronic kidney disease. The frequent consumption of strong antacids can also prevent other minerals and vitamins from being properly processed by the body. “Swallowing strong antacid medication is said to have no disadvantages, but this does appear to be the case”, Numan said.
Treating the health problems that arise through the overconsumption of antacid medication can cost the healthcare system up to 19 million euros per year, according to the Zorginstituut.
Weaker medication can also already help alleviate patients’ complaints, according to the Zorginsituut, patient organizations and an alliance of Dutch health insurers and healthcare providers. They advocated that patients be better informed about the risk of taking the stronger medication.
They also recommended that people make lifestyle changes before taking heavy medication.