People Taking Medicines For Heartburn Could Be At A Higher Risk Of Death

People Taking Medicines For Heartburn Could Be At A Higher Risk Of Death

People who take commonly prescribed acidity and heartburn medications could be at an increased risk of death, suggests a study.

-The drugs, known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), neutralise the acid in the stomach and are widely prescribed to control the symptoms.

-The researchers examined medical records of 3.5 million middle-aged Americans taking the medicines for over 5 years and compared those taking  PPIs to a group of patients receiving a different type of acid suppressant known as an H2 blocker.

-The researchers found that people taking the medicines were at an increased risk of early death and the risk increased the longer they took them.

-In patients taking H2 blocker tablets, there were 3.3 deaths per 100 people over one year. In the PPI group, this figure was higher at 4.7 per 100 people per year.

-The team also reported that the risk of death for those taking PPIs was 15% higher than those taking no PPIs and 23% higher than for those taking no acid suppressants at all.

This latest study is the first to show that PPIs may possibly increase the chance of death.

-The authors, however, pointed out that the study was observational, meaning it did not show that PPIs were the cause of the increased risk of death and that it was unclear how the drugs would act to affect mortality.

-The researchers advised people on PPIs to consult their doctor to discuss whether the drugs were still needed or if the dose can be brought down.

Source: BMJ Open Journal

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