Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to numerous serious side effects, including an increased risk of heart attack. A new study found that exposure to the PPI Nexium (esomeprazole) caused blood vessel cells to age faster. The findings support other studies linking long-term PPI use to heart disease, dementia, and kidney failure, and may explain the link. PPIs are used to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Houston Methodist Research Institute, and published in the journal Circulation Research in May, 2016. The researchers exposed endothelial cells, the cells that line blood vessels, to Nexium and to an H2 blocker.
PPIs work in treating heartburn by inhibiting acid production. It turns out that acid production was also inhibited in the endothelial cells exposed to Nexium, causing waste to build up which caused the cells to age prematurely. When they age, these cells become sticky instead of slick and smooth. Cells exposed to the H2 blocker were not affected in this way. H2 blockers are also used to treat heartburn and include drugs such as Tagamet (cimetidine).
The study was conducted in a laboratory setting, so more studies are needed.
PPIs are known for causing serious health problems, especially when used for an extended period of time. Risks associated with PPI use include:
- Bone fracture
- Malabsorption causing deficiencies in nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and B12
- Infection with Clostridium difficile
- Kidney disease
- Heart attack dementia
If you believe that your injuries may have been caused by a PPI such as Nexium or Prilosec, please talk to an experienced defective drug attorney right away to learn more about your rights.