REAL LIFE

Heartburn, reflux medication linked to early death

More evidence mounts against the pills

Medication used to treat heartburn and acid reflux has been linked to a greater risk of premature death, according to a US study.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are used to reduce acid in the stomach to help prevent heartburn and acid reflux, but a number of recent studies have linked the medication to adverse effects, such as, a heightened risk of chronic kidney disease, dementia and bone fracture in people with osteoporosis.

Now, findings from a study published in medical journal BMJ Open say PPIs could lead to an early death.

Researchers analysed the data of more than six million people obtained from the US Department of Veterans Affairs to compare the risk of death among those using PPIs or H2 blockers.

They tracked the subjects for six years or until 2013, whichever came first, and found that those who took PPIs have a 25 per cent increased risk of premature death within that period compared to those taking H2 blockers.

The risk increased the longer a person took the PPIs.

While the research was not conclusive, it does support a growing body of evidence showing a “host of adverse events” associated with PPI use.

“Exercising pharmacovigilance and limiting PPI use to instances and durations where it is medically indicated may be warranted,” the authors wrote.

Acid reflux is commonly caused by smoking, obesity and diet.

Experts say quitting smoking and managing your diet is the best way to avoid the condition and that medication should only be prescribed when absolutely necessary.

This article first published on Starts at 60.

 

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