Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nexi-What? Prilo-Huh?

Hold on to your hats. There are approximately 300 million Americans. In 2009, 110 million prescriptions were written for Nexium & Prilosec.

I listened carefully to the "side effects monolouge" of Nexium the other day and I was astounded as the list rolled on and on. I looked up the official side effects and found the following SAMPLE - note that this doesn't even include Prilosec or any other prescription medication OR over the counter:

Side Effects by Body SystemGastrointestinal
Gastrointestinal (GI) side effects have included bowel irregularity, aggravated constipation, dyspepsia, dysphagia, dysplasia, epigastric pain, eructation, esophageal disorder, frequent stools, gastroenteritis, GI hemorrhage, rectal disorder, increased appetite, anorexia, ulcerative stomatitis, and vomiting. Pancreatitis has also been reported.

Nervous system
Nervous system side effects have included confusion, dizziness, hypoesthesia, insomnia, migraine aggravation, paresthesia, sleep disorder, somnolence, tremor, and vertigo.

Cardiovascular side effects have included hypertension, angioedema, tachycardia, chest pain, and substernal chest pain.

Musculoskeletal side effects have included arthralgia, aggravation of arthritis, arthropathy, cramps, fibromyalgia syndrome, hernia, hypertonia, polymyalgia rheumatica, and back pain. Myalgia and hip fracture have also been reported.

An increased risk of hip fracture has been reported in a cohort study. The risk was significantly increased among patients prescribed long-term high PPIs.

Hematologic side effects have included anemia, hypochromic anemia, cervical lymphadenopathy, epistaxis, leukocytosis, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia. Agranulocytosis and pancytopenia have also been reported.

Hepatic side effects have included bilirubinemia, abnormal hepatic function, and increase in SGOT and SGPT. Hepatitis, with or without jaundice, has also been reported.

Metabolic side effects have included glycosuria, hyperuricemia, hyponatremia, increased alkaline phosphatase, excessive thirst, vitamin B12 deficiency, and weight increase/decrease.

Genitourinary side effects have included abnormal urine, albuminuria, cystitis, dysuria, hematuria, micturition frequency, moniliasis, genital moniliasis, impotence, dysmenorrhea, menstrual disorder, vaginitis, and polyuria.

A 42-year-old female with previously normal sexual function experienced loss of libido during esomeprazole therapy. She had been prescribed 40 mg esomeprazole twice daily for one month for symptoms of acid reflux disease. Over a 10 week period, she experienced a decline in sexual function until she could no longer respond sexually. After discontinuation of esomeprazole, her symptoms improved but did not return to what she considered normal.

Psychiatric side effects have included apathy, confusion, aggravated depression, and nervousness. At least one case of loss of libido has been reported.

Respiratory side effects have included aggravated asthma, coughing, dyspnea, larynx edema, pharyngitis, rhinitis, and sinusitis.

General side effects including hot flushes, fatigue, fever, flu-like disorder, leg edema, malaise, pain, earache, tinnitus, otitis, parosmia, taste loss, taste perversion, and enlarged abdomen have been reported.

Ocular side effects have included abnormal vision, conjunctivitis, and visual field defect. Blurred vision has also been reported.

Dermatologic side effects have included acne, dermatitis, pruritus, erythematous rash, maculopapular rash, skin inflammation, and increased sweating. Alopecia and erythema multiforme have also been reported. Duodenitis, esophagitis, esophageal stricture, esophageal ulceration, esophageal varices, gastric ulcer, gastritis, hernia, benign polyps or nodules, Barrett's esophagus, and mucosal discoloration have also been reported.

Endocrine side effects have included goiter.

Hypersensitivity side effects have rarely included allergic reactions (less than 1%). Toxic epidermal necrolysis (some cases fatal) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome have also been reported.

Immunologic side effects have included anaphylactic reaction or shock.

A 63-year-old female with dyspepsia experienced acute interstitial nephritis coincident with esomeprazole therapy. She presented to the hospital with a 1-month history of nausea and intermittent vomiting. Three weeks before presentation, she was empirically prescribed esomeprazole for the treatment of dyspepsia. A week before presentation, she stopped taking this drug, as she suspected it was exacerbating the malaise, nauseas, and vomiting. On day 4 of admission, a renal biopsy showed acute interstitial nephritis. Prednisolone therapy was continued for 4 weeks. Supportive dialysis was needed for 4 days, by which time renal function had improved. However, at follow-up 8 months later, serum creatinine levels remained abnormal

I never dreamed that a "Little Purple Pill" could do so much. Wonder of wonders.

Did it occur to the 110 million prescriptionites that their bodies are screaming out "STOP, YOU'RE PUTTING CRAP IN ME! I'M SENDING UP INDIGESTION AND ACID REFLUX BECAUSE YOU SUCK AT EATING!" Am I crazy to throw up the Hail Mary and suggest that they should figure out WHY their bodies are not digesting the food - dare I say fix the problem - instead of forcing God's perfect creation to digest something it deems toxic? We're like three year olds slamming into an electric fence three times per day. Side Note: Why didn't He give us brains to match the wonders of our bodies?

Really, take a gander through these side effects and send me your thoughts. I'm anxious to hear...



  1. From experience teaching and practising Naturopathy and Ayurveda where usually any recommendation requires some participation on behalf of the client, the vast majority of our Western population simply don't want to help themselves or put effort into making their lives healthier from the inside out. They'll exercise because they look better and maybe feel better while doing it, but use your food as a medicine - not many!

  2. David - the more I read, the more my eyes are opened. Thank you for facilitating Ayurveda in my life. Some may say it's complicated and intimidating but even the simplest practices - if practiced daily - make a huge difference. We have the power to change all of this mess. How do you stop yourself from yelling it from the mountain tops of NZ? Mainly... I just want to scream my Pitta head off :)

  3. My first job out of nursing school was working on a gastric bypass floor. My second job was working on a cardiac floor. A common theme of overindulgence, too much meat, too much fat, too much fried, too much processed, too much indignation, too much denial... Too little thought, too little motivation. I remember seeing a video presentation by Dr. Klapper who works with Dr. Furhman. He made a remark about no one being admitted due to "acute lack of protein". All too true, in my experience. It's always uncontrolled hypertension, acute renal failure, uncontrolled diabetes, MI, unstable angina, etc. Diagnoses related to wanting what we want and wanting it now, taking the easy path. Like 3-year-olds throwing themselves against an electric fence! Thanks for that image. Ahh, so frustrating, your mention of Nexium brought back memories of the last AM med pass. Heebie jeebies.

  4. Janelle, thank you so much for the input! I would love to get together and talk about your experiences in the bypass floor. I can only imagine! Not eating the animals is shedding new light on a lot things. LOVE that you brought up the lack of "protein deficiency". I think that all of this is ingrained in us from such a young age - I almost have to shake off everything I thought I "knew" and begin again. Thanks again for the insight... L