The use of medications that block gastric acid secretion, such as proton pump inhibitors, has rapidly escalated in the United States. Although originally intended for short-term treatment of specific conditions, PPIs have expanded to long-term use with unanticipated consequences, including mineral deficiencies related to lack of sufficient stomach acid needed for extraction of minerals from the foods and supplements ingested. Herein, the author reports on a case of a patient with tachycardia and other arrhythmias that had been resistant to the medications prescribed by a series of cardiologists. The patient had been on PPI for several years preceding his arrhythmias, prescribed for stress-related gastritis. The author did comprehensive blood work and discovered that the patient was deficient in many of the minerals tested, including magnesium, known to be essential for normal cardiac function. After the patient slowly weaned himself off the PPIs and took magnesium and other minerals, the tachycardia resolved without any medication.Conclusions:
This case demonstrates the importance of carefully reviewing the list of medications patients are taking and having a thorough understanding of the possible long-term risks associated with those medications. The patient's presenting symptoms have the potential to be related–directly or indirectly–to the medications that have been prescribed.