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Craig Kelley
Craig Kelley
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Heartburn Drugs Can Equal Dementia


German researches have determined that there is a group of medications for heartburn, called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that are possibly responsible for raising the risk for dementia in older adults, especially those 75 years of age and older.  The risky drugs include the commonly used brands, Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec.  Previous studies have linked H2 blockers, another class of antacids, to dementia risks and from there medical providers started steering patients away from those antacids (Tagamet, Pepcid, and Zantac) and to the PPIs.  It is feared that many in the United States have been treating minor problems with acid reflux or heartburn symptoms with overuse of the PPIs and that medical providers have been over prescribing them.  In addition to the latest possibility of the medications being linked to dementia, it is suspected they mess with an individual’s ability to reason and also are associated with a higher risk of chronic kidney disease. 

Researchers will do further studies and state that what they know now is that PPIs seem to impact levels of amyloid beta and tau, which are Alzheimer’s related proteins.  They also note that they may cause vitamin B12 deficiency, which can bring cognitive decline.  The increased risk of dementia is thought to be 44 percent greater in consumers who use PPIs on a regular basis.  This could be an underestimation of the risk, considering that the United States, and possibly other countries, have allowed PPIs to be sold over the counter and without the prescription of a physician. 

It is important to know that PPIs are not the only solution to problems with heartburn or acid reflux symptoms, so it is wise to consult your physician and discuss the options, while weighing out the pros and cons for any treatment as an informed consumer.  Further studies will be done so stay tuned to the website of Inserra & Kelley Law Offices for updated information as it arrives.  Our caring professionals wish you and your family the best and safest health solutions. 


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  1. M. G. Rabbi says:
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    Thank for your sharing.

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    The study was inconclusive.
    It showed a correlation between the over 75’s with dementia and on PPIs but more likely due to the “characteristics” of the patients rather than the drugs. Relative risk 1.4, i.e. very small!