By the way, doctor: Should I stop taking a stomach acid blocker?
Q. I was treated for two weeks with antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor when I had an H. pylori infection. I've continued with the proton pump inhibitor to cut down on stomach acid. Could that be harmful?
A. It appears you received the most common treatment for a Helicobacter pylori infection, which involves taking two antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor, or PPI, for 10 to 14 days.
The PPIs are the –prazole drugs: esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), and omeprazole (Prilosec). Taking a PPI for extended periods has some theoretical risks. Animal experiments have linked PPIs to atrophic gastritis, a stomach condition that increases the risk of stomach cancer. It's been shown that humans can also develop atrophic gastritis from long-term use of PPIs, but that worry has been offset by studies that haven't found any increase in stomach cancer among people who have taken omeprazole for decades.