Is Your Heartburn Medicine Killing You?

Published Date : Jun 07, 2019

Who could have thought that commonly used medicines used to treat heartburn could make you susceptible to increased death risk? Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) -marketed as Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium, and Protonix - provide relief by decreasing gastric acid. Firstly, PPIs are among the most widely used drug groups in the United States. Furthers, PPIs are prescribed for more than 15 million Americans. In addition, millions more buy medicines and take them without a doctor being consulted. A recent study sheds light on how extended use of PPIs leads to higher susceptibility to drug-induced death.

Although not uncommon, the negative impacts of drug classes usually link a single organ or system during post-market surveillance. Examples include cough with inhibitors to the conversion of angiotensins and enteropathy with some receptor blockers for angiotensin II.

What Does Research Find About Overuse of PPIs?

Over the years, a number of studies suggest that using proton pump inhibitors leads to some negative health results. These include cardiovascular diseases, chronic renal disease, and gastric cancer. Some of these adverse effects on health mean a higher risk of death. These findings piqued the interests of researchers. Advanced studies that investigate whether proton pump inhibitors increase mortal risk find answers.

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine find this risk increases with the length of PPI use. In comparison to the PPI blocker group, the scientists discovered a 17 percent higher risk of death. Moreover, more than a half of the patients consuming PPIs without a prescription give no justification for consuming PPIs.

Scientists express concern that people using PPIs over a longer time period are at potential risk of death. They suggest avoiding PPIs when unnecessary.