Georgia Dixon

Body

These common drugs may lead to early death

These common drugs may lead to early death

If you rely on medication to manage your heartburn and acid reflux, we’ve got bad news. A new study of more than six million people has found a link between the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and an increased risk of early death.

Health data from six million people was tracked for about six years (until 2013 or death, whichever came first). It was found that, when compared to participants who used H2 blockers (another class of heartburn medications), those who took PPIs experienced a 25 per cent increased risk of early death. This risk grew the longer the PPIs were taken.

These drugs have previously been linked to higher rates of chronic kidney disease, dementia, C difficile infections and bone fractures in people affected by brittle bone disease, the Huffington Post reports.

“Although our results should not deter prescription and use of PPIs where medically indicated,” researchers write, “they may be used to encourage and promote pharmacovigilance [monitoring the side-effects of licensed drugs] and [they] emphasise the need to exercise judicious use of PPIs and limit use and duration of therapy to instances where there is a clear medical indication and where benefit outweighs potential risk.”

If you have any concerns about these new findings, speak to your GP about alternatives.