Proton Pump Inhibitors are considered relatively safe to use for a temporary period of time. However, the long term use of these drugs for an extended period of time is linked to certain health problems.
Negative Effect on the gastrointestinal tract
Stomach acid is one of the body’s primary defenses, defending against microbes that enter through the gut. PPIs reduce the acid production in the stomach, which may increase the chances of a person getting an opportunistic infection.6 Recent studies have concluded that acid suppression drugs increase the chances for community acquired pneumonia and other infections.
Effect on the Cardiovascular system
Use of PPIs by patients suffering from GERD has been implicated in increasing the risk of myocardial infarction by 1.6 times. In a recent study researchers concluded that PPIs may be linked to damage of endothelial cells. When cultured endothelial cells were exposed to PPIs they caused them to age rapidly and eventually causing them to lose their ability to divide. This may be due to PPIs inhibiting the lysosomal component of the cell responsible to removal of waste and worn out organelles.
Effect on the Urinary system
PPIs have also been linked to the development of chronic kidney disease. A recent study focused on 76,462 patients using PPIs — 19,311 developed chronic kidney disease. They concluded that excessive use of PPIs increases the risk for the development of chronic kidney disease and also early death.
Effects on the bone
PPIs maybe also lead to malabsorption. This in turns lead to vitamin deficiencies, particularly vitamin B12, vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium are crucial to development and strengthening of bones.
Effect on the Nervous system
Use of PPI may also lead to the development of cognitive deficits including dementia. A study suggested that the incidence of dementia increases by 44% in people who use PPIs regularly.
Medicines like Nexium and Prilosec often play an important role in treating gastrointestinal issues. They can relieve the discomfort of acid reflux and heartburn, and give the lining of the digestive track time to heal. Though they can be effective treatments, it is important that people be aware of the risks, especially of long-term use. Users should consult with their doctors over concerns using these drugs.
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