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Letter to the editor: the pundit speaks
We::: Letter to the editor: The Pundit Speaks
"Stomach Acid Drugs Have Real Dangers"
Drugs which block stomach acid production are called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), such as Nexium,
Prilosec, Prevacid, Zegerid and others, and are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. Over 113 million prescriptions for proton pump inhibitors are filled each year, accounting for nearly $14 billion in sales. But, several new studies warn that the popular stomach acid reducers are showing the potential for serious side effects. They are prescribed to treat inflammation of the esophagus, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and ulcers and other conditions, and work by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. However, stomach acid can be a very important defense mechanism against pathogens (bacteria), in that it can kill them. Five studies and an editorial in the May 2010 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine
explored the side effects associated with proton pump inhibitors, including bone fractures among older women and Clostridium difficile
(C. diff) infections that can cause life-threatening diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems in older people. Overall, proton pump inhibitors are safe but, evidence suggests the drugs are being prescribed unnecessarily and that potential side effects are not being taken seriously enough. Dr. Amy Linsky, at Boston Medical Center said, "Prescribers and patients should be aware of what some of those risks are, and each patient needs to assess what their risk vs. benefits could be." And, evidence suggests that between 53% and 69% of prescriptions are for "inappropriate indications," such as indigestion or heartburn without ulcers and those patients should be prescribed PPIs for only brief periods or not at all. Instead, patients could try eating smaller meals, especially before bed, losing weight, quitting smoking, reducing stress and raising the head of the bed. Today, about half of hospital patients are given PPIs as an ulcer preventive measure and this may be over-prescribing them and many continue taking PPIs after leaving the hospital. Data on more than 100,000 patients found that taking a proton pump inhibitor each day increased the chances of a C. difficile
infection by 74%. Patients who took proton pump inhibitors longer than that had more than double the chance. This could translate into thousands of additional deaths. C. difficile
kills about one in every 14 adults over 65 who gets it. The FDA is also reviewing the risk of Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea (CDAD) in users of histamine H2 receptor blockers, such as Tagamet and Zantac.
In the America that I love, risk/benefit must always be weighed for each and every medication one
takes. According to the CDC, hand washing, alcohol-based sanitizers and taking only prescribed antibiotics can lower a person's risk of getting or spreading C. diff. As always, do not take unnecessary medicines.
Randolph M. Howes, M.D., Ph.D. Surgeon/Scientist/Patient Advocate 27439 Highway 441, Kentwood, LA 70444 985-229-6955 – Home | 985-229-3760 – Fax| www.iwillfindthecure.org
Differential thermal analysis, supercooling and cell viability in organs of Olea europaea at subzero temperatures P. Fiorino, S. Mancuso Dipartimento di Ortoflorofrutticoltura, Università di Firenze, Via G. Donizetti 6, 50144 Firenze, Italy. Key words : chilling tolerance, electrolyte leakage, freezing temperature, Olea europaea, supercooling, visual score, vital stain. Ab
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