Could other medicines you are taking be making your acid reflux worse?

Could other medicines you are taking be making your acid reflux worse?
Could other medicines you are taking be making your acid reflux worse?

Medications you might be taking for other
health problems can actually aggravate your acid reflux.
Check with your doctor to make sure you aren’t taking
the type of prescriptions that could be making your
acid reflux worse.
Some cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax.
These are:
• Calcium channel blockers.
• Anti-cholinergics.
• Alpha-adrenergic agonists.
• Dopamine.
• Sedatives.
• Common pain relievers.
Some can weaken the peristaltic action of the esophagus
and can slow stomach emptying. These are:
• Calcium channel blockers.
• Anti-cholinergics.
Some can cause damage to the esophagus lining:
• Alendronate (Fosamax, an anti-osteoporosis
drug). Take this drug with 6-8 ounces of water—
not juice or carbonated or mineral water—on an
empty stomach in the morning and remain upright
for 30 minutes afterward.
• Potassium and iron pills can be corrosive and
cause ulcers in the esophagus.
• Antibiotics can make the mucus membrane more
vulnerable to acids.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are
known for potentially causing ulcers in the stomach. But
can they also harm the esophagus? One recent study found
that elderly people who took these drugs and also had
acid reflux were at higher risk for acid reflux complications
(particularly strictures, abnormal narrowing of the
esophagus, and Barrett’s esophagus).
If you have been taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs, you might be twice as likely to develop acid
reflux disease, according to presenters at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology. The results are from a study on people taking prescription NSAIDs for osteoarthritis. These drugs may contribute to acid reflux by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter muscle,allowing the stomach contents to more easily find their way into the esophagus. (RN, March 2000; vol. 63 i3: 96) There are dozens of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs, some of which are going to look very familiar:

• Aspirin.
• Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, Rufen).
• Naproxen (Aleve).
• Piroxicam (Feldene).
• Diflunisal (Dolobid).
• Indomethacin (Indocin).
• Flurbiprofen (Ansaid).
• Ketorolac (Toradol).
• Ketoprofen (Acron, Orudis KT).
• Diclofenac (Voltaren).
Note: If you have acid reflux, taking an “occasional”
aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug will
probably not harm you. But if you want to avoid them,
Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a good alternative.
Is that an aspirin in your throat?
Sometimes acid reflux symptoms can appear
simply because pills containing irritating chemicals
become trapped in the esophagus and eventually dissolve.
It can also happen with vitamin C supplements and
antibiotics like tetracycline.
Which tests are used to evaluate acid reflux? 
If your symptoms don’t improve with prescription
medications, your doctor may use one or more
of the following tests to gather more information. An acid
reflux exam often includes an endoscopy (described in the
following). It takes about 15 to 30 minutes for the procedure.
• Upper GI Series: You are asked to swallow a
liquid barium mixture and the radiologist uses
a fluoroscope to watch the barium as it travels
down your esophagus and into the stomach. Xrays
are usually taken as needed. This test provides
limited information about possible acid
reflux but helps rule out other possible diagnoses
, such as peptic ulcers.
• Endoscopy: After you have been sedated, a small,
lighted, flexible tube is passed through the mouth
and into the esophagus and stomach to look for
abnormalities like inflammation or irritation of the
lining of the esophagus. This is thought to be the
best way to identify esophagitis and Barrett’s
esophagus. If the endoscopy finds anything suspicious,
a small sample of the esophagus lining is

often taken for further testing (biopsy).

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