Roach’s advice column had key omissions

Recently a reader with Barrett’s esophagus (pre-cancer changes) wrote to Dr. Keith Roach, a Mirror columnist, asking about the safety of long-term Omeprazole.

I thought Roach’s advice was good with a few important omissions.

Omeprazole and all proton pump inhibitors limit the progression of Barrett’s esophagus to cancer of the esophagus.

I’ve seen lots of people die from esophageal cancer, but I’ve never seen anyone die from a proton pump inhibitor.

However, the cornerstone of therapy for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is anti-reflux lifestyle modification.

Alcohol, smoking, obesity, certain foods and eating before going to bed are common factors that aggravate GERD. Reflux surgery is an option but usually not necessary.

Another class of medicines called H2 receptor blockers (Zantac, Pepcid, Axid, Tagamet) are good alternatives to proton pump inhibitors and are very safe.

However, it’s important to treat GERD to avoid lethal consequences.

Jonathan F. Grier, M.D.