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Heartburn Drugs Cause Severe Health Conditions Like Heart Disease, Study Reveals

Heartburn drugs cause severe health conditions such as stomach ulcer, kidney and heart diseases

It is so unfortunate to know that heartburn drugs cause severe health conditions.

Heartburn drugs are commonly taken by a large number of people to ease stomach upset and heartburn. But study has shown that the continuous use of these drugs is linked to a number of deadly diseases. However, research is still been carried out to ascertain what could be contained in the drug that is causing premature deaths among humans.

A group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine and Veterans Affair St’ Louis Health Care are behind this great discovery. They discovered that prolong use of heartburn drugs is linked to stomach cancer, severe kidney damage and cardiovascular disease.

Heartburn drugs, also known as PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitors) are prescribed to millions of people in the United States. This is apart from the people who buy from over the counter without any prescription from a doctor and they keep taking continuously.

It is always advisable to seek a doctor’s approval before purchasing any drugs from over the counter. It may appear to you as though there’s no big deal getting a drug in a store, but there may be underlying effects that is unknown to you and only your doctor can guide you rightly.

Heartburn drugs cause severe health conditions
Heartburn drugs cause severe health conditions

According to the researchers, they said even if you take PPI at a low dose, the continuous use of the drugs could still lead to these deadly diseases.

An online publication has been made about this study in THE BMJ, a popular journal.

“Taking heartburn drugs continuously is never a safe thing to do, and now it is evident to us that the prolong use of PPI leads to some chronic health challenges,” this was according to Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, an author and assistant professor of medicine at Washington University. He has been the team lead behind a couple of researches that linked PPIs to severe kidney failure that eventually lead to untimely death.

Other groups of researches have independently done their research and found out that prolong use of heartburn drugs is linked to pneumonia, dementia, heart disease, bone fractures, and a host of other diseases.

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PPIs are associated and sold under some brand names such as Nexium, Protonix, Prevacid and Prilosec. These drugs are known to help stop stomach upset and acid indigestion. They are one of the most common drugs taken by Americans.

How was this study carried out? A database of medical records between July 2002 and June 2004 was used for their studies. They found out that 157,625 people (mostly Caucasian men) of ages 65 years and above were newly prescribed PPIs, another 56,842 people were newly prescribed H2 blockers which is another class of heartburn drug. A total of 214, 467 people were used for the study and were followed for ten years.

From the research, they discovered a 17 percent increase in death risk among those that took PPIs compared to the H2 blocker takers. From their calculations, out of a thousand people that used PPI over a long time, the death rate was 387. Out of a thousand people that used H2 blockers, a death rate of 342 was recorded. This is 45 in excess for the PPI takers.

“The fact that millions of persons take heartburn drugs every year means that tons of people die as a result of this,” this were the word of Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist and nephrologist

PPI intake was linked to mortalities caused by stomach cancer, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. To be specific, 15 out 1000 who took PPI died from cardiovascular disease, 4 out of 1000 from severe kidney disease, and 2 out of 1000 from gastrointestinal cancer. For heart disease, 88 people from using PPI while 73 died from using H2 blockers. For chronic kidney disease, 8 died from taking PPI and 4 died from H2 blockers. For stomach cancer, 6 died from the PPI group and 4 from the H2 blocker group.

Additionally, the research showed that more than half of those who took PPI did that without getting any doctor’s prescription or having any medical needs. These were the set of people that died most from the use of PPIs, with about 23 out of 1000 people dying from cardiovascular disease, about 3 out of 1000 people from stomach cancer, and about 5 out of 1000 from sever kidney disease.

Heartburn drugs cause severe health conditions
Heartburn drugs cause severe health conditions

Al-Aly continued, “Most alarming to me is that serious harm may be experienced by people who are on PPIs but may not need them. Overuse is likely to cause health problem.”

The study also revealed that more than 80 percent of the people that took PPI were on low doses. What this imply is that the dose of PPI has little or no effect in leading to death if you keep taking it always.

Many other bodies such as the Food and Drug Agency are seeking interest in getting data presented by Al-Aly’s team. “Heartburn drugs sold over the counter should be clearly stated that there are health risk associated with it, as well as a clearer warning about the need to limit length of usage, generally not more than 10 to 14 days,” Al-Aly said. “Anyone who plans on taking the drugs over a long period of time should ensure he has a discussion with his doctor.”

The team will continue to put in more effort to see if there are other adverse health conditions linked to PPI, focusing on any higher health risks.

This should be a message that needs to be spread so people can learn about this and cut down on the prolong use of heartburn drugs.

Use the share icon buttons below this post to share this information with friends and family. You could be saving a person from severe health conditions.

Justin Owena
A passionate writer and a travel enthusiast. I get exhilarated writing from different locations.

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