A recent study has found that common heartburn medicine that uses proton pump inhibitors (PPI) can increase the chance of having a heart attack by as much as 20 percent (20%). Some of the trusted brands selling such drugs are Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid.
Researchers at the Houston Methodist and Stanford University have published a study suggesting that proton pump inhibitors raise the risk of having a heart attack by somewhere between 16 and 21 percent (16% and 21%).
Nigam H. Shah, lead author and professor at Stanford University, gave a statement saying that “People who take medication to suppress stomach acid are at greater risk of developing myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack”.
And John Cooke, senior author and on study and doctor at the Houston Methodist Research Institute, gave a statement of his own saying that the researchers’ earlier work showed how proton pump inhibitors have the potential of adversely affecting the endothelium, which is the “Teflon-like” lining of the blood vessels. This led them to believe that people taking proton pump inhibitors may increase their chances of having a heart attack.
For their study, published earlier this week, on Wednesday (June 10, 2015), in the journal PLOS One, the researchers looked at 16 million clinical documents belonging to 2.9 million patients in two (2) different databases and found an undeniable link between drugs that use proton pump inhibitors and heartburn patients who have heart attacks.
The patients in one of the databases took antacid medicine containing proton pump inhibitors, the ones in the other database took antacid medicine containing H2 blockers (brands that use these include Zantac and Tagament). The patients in the second group did not show any increased risk of experiencing a heart attack, the ones in the first group did.
Nigam H. Shah explained that by examining the date collected from patients who were primarily given medicine containing proton pump inhibitors and had no previous history of heart disease, the inevitable conclusion was that they are responsible for an increase in the number of heart attacks in the general population.
Experts estimate that roughly 20 percent (20%) of Americans are suffering from either acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux. Both are common forms of heartburn that cause patients to feel like their chest is tightening, their throat is burning, give them coughing, hoarseness, and make it difficult for them to swallow.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) informs that more than 1 in 14 United States citizens are prescribed proton pump inhibitors to help them treat various gastrointestinal disorders and digestive system issues.
Although the authors say that these drugs may not be as safe as previously believed, they also admit that you shouldn’t panic in you’re already taking them as you are most likely at a low risk of experiencing heart attacks. However, they also suggest that you reevaluate if you really need them or if you could easily replace them with something else.
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