'Little purple pill' is under microscope

Dr. Greg Plotnikoff went over some vitamins with patient Bernice Koniar, 66, at the Penney George Clinic at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

[Star Tribune, October 02, 2010] Dr. Marcus Thygeson once wrote his patients countless prescriptions for heartburn drugs such as Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium -- the "little purple pills'' of TV ads.

But several months ago, when his own doctor advised him to start taking the pills, he refused. "It was all I could do to get out of the office without a prescription," he said.

The Twin Cities gastroenterologist has come to see the popular pills as a symbol of the excesses of modern medicine -- a powerful medication "handed out like water" in his words, amid mounting evidence that it may do many people more harm than good.

"It's a drug we've become very cavalier about," says Thygeson, president of the Center for Healthcare Innovation at Allina Hospitals & Clinics. "Now it's like front-line therapy if you so much as belch."

Read more at startribune.com.

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