Extended use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), a popular type of heartburn drug, dramatically increases the risk of death. This was the conclusion of a team of researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine after analyzing medical data of some 300,000 people. Authors of the study say that their findings indicate the need for improved vigilance in prescribing the drugs and exercising better information sharing between patients and physicians.
PPIs, which are readily available over the counter under brand names such as Prevacid, Prilosec, and Nexium, are generally considered safe because of their availability. Studies conducted over the last few years have already indicated that using these heartburn drugs are linked to an increased risk of kidney damage, bone fractures, and dementia. However, this new research published in BMJ Open, revealed that PPI-use can have far greater consequences.