How Heartburn Drugs May Lead to Dementia

Omeprazole, Pantoprazole, Lansoprazole and Esomeprazole are popular heartburn drugs known as proton pump inhibitors have been linked to a range of ills: bone fractures, kidney problems, infections and more. Now a large new study has found that they are associated with an increased risk for dementia as well.

How Heartburn Drugs May Lead to Dementia

Proton pump inhibitors, or P.P.I.s, are widely available both by prescription and over the counter under various brand names, including Pan40, Nexium, Gaviscon, Motilium etc.

German researchers, using a database of drug prescriptions, studied P.P.I. use in 73,679 men and women older than 75 who were free of dementia at the start of the study. Over an average follow-up period of more than five years, about 29,000 developed Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. The study is in JAMA Neurology.

Taking controlling of the patients age, sex, depression, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and the use of other medicines, they found that regular use of P.P.I.s increased the risk for dementia in men by 52 percent and in women by 42 percent, compared with nonusers.

How Heartburn Drugs May Lead to Dementia

Britta Haenisch senior author,  of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases states that “Our study does not prove that P.P.I.s cause dementia,” It can only provide a statistical association. This is just a small part of the puzzle.

“Clinicians, pharmacists and patients have to weigh the benefits against the potential side effects,” she continued, “and future studies will help to better inform these decisions.”

So when next you think of taking a PPI always remember the risk involved and decide.

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