Heartburn drugs linked to fatal heart and kidney disease, stomach cancer – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Extended use of popular drugs to treat heartburn, ulcers and acid reflux has been associated with an increased risk of premature death. However, little has been known about the specific causes of death attributed to the drugs.
Now, a study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System has linked long-term use of such drugs — called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) — to fatal cases of cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and upper gastrointestinal cancer.
More than 15 million Americans have prescriptions for PPIs. Further, many millions more purchase the drugs over the counter and take them without being under a doctor’s care and often indefinitely.
The researchers also found that such risk increases with the duration of PPI use, even when the drugs are taken at low doses.
The study is published online May 30 in the journal The BMJ.