Heartburn and acid reflux are admittedly uncomfortable conditions. However, solving these problems has created an even worse problem for patients.
Popular yet dangerous
Proton pump inhibitors are the most common medications prescribed for the treatment of heartburn and acid reflux. They are widely available over the counter and have proven highly effective in managing these conditions. Over 15 million Americans were prescribed proton pump inhibitors in 2013.
However, recent studies are showing that the use of these drugs could prove fatal for many patients. Studies have linked the use of proton pump inhibitors with increased risk of first-time stroke.
An even worse problem
Data from research presented at a New Orleans American Heart Association conference held in February 2016 indicates that the use of proton pump inhibitors increased the risk of ischemic strokes in addition to kidney disease and dementia.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common type of stroke is the ischemic stroke. It occurs as a result of blood clots that form in the blood vessels and block off the flow of blood to the brain.
The retrospective cohort study included over 244,000 patients. 44% of the patients had filled a PPI prescription. The results of the study showed that the patient’s risk of ischemic stroke increased by as much as 94% as a result of using PPIs. Researchers concluded by questioning the safety of the drug for cardiovascular health.
The study included the four most popular PPIs taken by patients in Denmark. These are Prisolec, Nexium, Protonix and Prevacid. The effects of the highest doses of each drug were studied. The risk of developing stroke with Prisolec and Prevacid increased by 33%, Nexium 50% and Protonix 70%.
The problems related to the use of PPIs could be even more widespread than authorities believe. Millions of Americans use prescription pump inhibitors. However, data indicates that as much as 70% of the prescriptions are not based on appropriate indications. There are concerns that the drugs are being overused.
While acid reflux and heartburn may be uncomfortable to the point of being intolerable, patients are now being advised to make lifestyle changes to deal with the discomfort. Changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking and cutting back on fatty and spicy foods can help to deal with the condition.
However, if you or someone you love is already suffering the side effects of using PPIs, contact a lawyer to see if you have a claim. Many lawsuits already have been filed for the serious side effects associated with the use of PPIs.