by Bernadette M. Mandes Wildemore

iron-absorption-chartMany patients who suffer with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) take medication to help suppress the production of acid in their GI tract. These acid reducers include the very common drugs known as proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs. However, these seeming panaceas do not come without risk, as has been discussed on this blog and elsewhere.

The newest nail in the coffin of the popular medicines used to reduce acid, is that stomach acid is absolutely critical for the absorption of iron, a key nutrient for at very least women; yet, truly everyone requires iron from their diet.

A recent case control study has raised flags for the development of iron deficiency in those patients who take acid suppressors for significant periods of time. As imagined, the worst offenders were the PPIs, followed by histamine blockers (also known as H2 blockers).

The take home message for patients as well as their providers appears to be that we need to be mindful of the benefit to risk ratio, especially in patients who may be at risk for becoming anemic.

More information: Lam JR et al. Proton pump inhibitor and histamine-2 receptor antagonist use and iron deficiency.Gastroenterology 2016 Nov 24; [e-pub].

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