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Some heartburn drugs linked with higher risk of death

Advancements in modern science have led to major breakthroughs in not only pain medications, but drugs taken on a daily or weekly basis to help maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Heartburn medications are one such improvement. Regularly taken PPIs (proton pump inhibitors), you may know them as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid, help to reduce stomach acids and can often be purchased with a prescription or over the counter.

The concern is that a drug that’s supposed to make our daily lives more comfortable, has been linked by some researchers to “kidney disease, stomach infections, heart disease, pneumonia, bone fractures, and dementia.” Unfortunately, the concerns with PPIs aren’t limited to the above adverse effects.  Researchers found that there was a “25 percent increased risk of death in the patients who took a PPI compared with the people who took H2 blockers — about one extra death for every 500 people taking PPIs for a year.” One interesting piece of date is the length of time the medication was taken before the concerns became serious. According to the report, “researchers found a "graded" relationship, meaning the longer patients took the medication — for 30 days, 60 days, 90, 120 days, a year and so on — the higher their risk of death.” It was analysis such as this that made it clear to researchers the “relationship is there and more robust the longer that patients took their medications…” according to study author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly.

While the links between PPIs and the health risks remain unclear, there is one thing researchers and doctors are certain of…you should not stop taking your medications without first speaking with a doctor. And as always, continue to “follow the label and FDA directions and warning[s].”

To learn more about the potential health risks of PPIs, click here: