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Popular Heartburn Drugs Linked to Fatal Diseases and Stomach Cancer

Rebecca Ramsey12 months ago

Long-term use of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to fatal cases of heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and upper gastrointestinal cancer, according to new study.

About PPIs

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are drugs taken to prevent the stomach from producing acid that causes heartburn.

Common types are PPIs are Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, and Protonix. These drugs can be either prescribed by a doctor or purchased over the counter.

About the Heartburn Drug Study

A research team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System conducted a study on the effects of the long-term use of PPIs on the human body.

To conduct their study, the researchers examined data collected from July 2002 to June 2004 within the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs. They discovered a total of 214,467 patients who had been prescribed PPIs.

Of the patients, 157,625 people had been newly prescribed PPIs, while 56,842 people had been newly prescribed H2 blockers, another class of acid-suppression drugs.

The researchers monitored the patients for up to 10 years.

Results of the Study

Results of the study show a 17 percent increased risk of death in the PPI group compared with the H2 blocker group.

The researchers calculated 387 deaths per 1,000 people attributed to PPI use, and 342 deaths per 1,000 attributed to H2 blocker use—an excess difference of 45 deaths within the PPI group.

The study also found that more than 80 percent of PPI users were on low doses, or doses equivalent to those offered in over-the-counter versions—meaning that the risk may include over-the-counter doses.

Death Rates, According to Study:

  • Heart disease
    • 88 in the PPI group
    • 73 in the H2 blockers group
  • Chronic kidney disease
    • 8 in the PPI group
    • 4 in the H2 blockers group
  • Stomach cancer
    • 6 in the PPI group
    • 4 in the H2 blockers group


For those who do not have a severe medical need, the research team suggests small PPI doses taken for the shortest duration possible.

Contact an Experienced Drug Side-Effect Attorney

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dangerous pharmaceutical drug or medical device, you may be entitled to compensation. You deserve dynamic representation from a law firm with the resources necessary to take on the pharmaceutical companies. Thomas J. Henry has a track record of helping clients receive record-breaking verdicts, settlements, and judgments.

Our firm has offices in Corpus ChristiSan Antonio, Austin, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide. Call us today for a free case review — attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends.


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