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Slow Down on that Heartburn Drug

April 9, 2016
Plain English Version

ppi drugsA new study adds to the findings that taking heartburn drugs creates risks.

The study says that some drugs can lead to a heart attack. All heartburn medications are not the same. The drugs are used in the treatment of gastric reflux. There are two classes.

The first class is called proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs). These drugs may cause problems. They increase the chance of a heart attack by 16 percent to 21 percent.

Some PPI brands include Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid.

Researchers think the PPI drugs may promote inflammation and clots. This interferes with the actions of enzymes that protect the heart.

One question is whether PPI users are sicker than the general population. That may be one reason for a higher number of heart attacks.

h2 blockersThe second class is H2 blockers. These drugs are thought to be safe. Some H2 blocker brands include Zantac, Pepcid, and Tagamet.

Doctors caution patients about the use of all drugs. They urge patients to bring a list of all medications with them on medical visits. Some think we are an over-medicated country. All drugs may have negative aspects.

In any event, it seems safer to use the H2 blockers.

Source: The New York Times June 10, 2015

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