People who take proton pump inhibitor (PPI) heartburn medications may be at an increased risk of developing stomach infections, according to a new study.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was injured by PPI side effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
What’s the Problem?
January 6, 2017 – The study, published Thursday in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, found that among a cohort of 565,000 adults, patients who took PPIs had higher rates of infection with C. difficile and Campylobacter bacteria than those who did not take the medications.
Both C. difficile and Campylobacter cause abdominal pain and diarrhea, but can become more serious — especially. C. difficile. In fact, nearly 500,000 people in the U.S. were sickened by the infection in 2011 (including 29,000 who died in a single month), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Proton pump inhibitors associated with stomach infections include:
- Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium)
- Aciphex (rabeprazole)
- Protonix (pantoprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Zegerid (omeprazole / sodium bicarbonate)
- Dexilant (dexlansoprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Vimovo (esomeprazole and naproxen)
All of these heartburn drugs suppress stomach acid production, and the researchers suspect that this mechanism of action may change the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the gut, leaving users vulnerable to gastrointestinal (GI) infections.
For the study, a research team led by Dr. Thomas MacDonald at the University of Dundee in Scotland looked at the medical records of nearly 565,000 Scottish adults. More than 188,000 had been given at least one prescription for a PPI or H2 blocker (Pepcid, Zantac, Tagamet); the rest had no prescriptions for the drugs.
On average, patients who took PPIs or H2 blockers were roughly 4 times more likely to develop a Campylobacter infection between 1999 and 2013. They were also 70% more likely to be diagnosed with C. diff outside of a hospital setting; their odds of being diagnosed in the hospital were 42% higher, according to the researchers.
The new study isn’t the first to raise concerns about the risk of stomach infections with proton pump inhibitors. A study published in the journal Gut and Liver in September 2016 found that PPIs increase the risk of infection from C. diff.
“This study offers more evidence that there’s an association,” said Dr. F. Paul Buckley, surgical director of the Heartburn and Acid Reflux Center at the Scott & White Clinic in Round Rock, Texas, who was not involved with the study. “There’s still a myth that these drugs are benign. It’s not true.”
Do I have a Heartburn Drug Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in heartburn drug lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new kidney injury cases in all 50 states.
Free Drug Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you were injured by the side effects of a proton pump inhibitor, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.