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“Popular Heartburn Drugs Again Tied To Fatalities”

They rank among the top-selling medications in the US. Heartburn drugs are called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and are sold under the brand names Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium, and Protonix, among others. Over 15 million Americans suffering from heartburn, ulcers, and acid reflux have prescriptions for PPIs, which bring relief by reducing gastric acid. PPIs, used for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcers, work by reduction of stomach acid production. PPIs work by blocking the enzyme system that creates stomach acid. They are commonly prescribed for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), where stomach acid chronically escapes into the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth and stomach). A new study suggests people who use common heartburn drugs for months to years may face heightened risks of dying from heart disease, kidney failure or stomach cancer. The study included more than 200,000 US veterans. It’s the latest to raise concerns over drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Research in recent years has linked prolonged PPI use to increased risks of various diseases and premature death. These latest findings point to the specific causes of death tied to the drugs. However, the excess risks were relatively small. When the researchers weighed other factors—such as patients’ age and chronic health conditions—PPI use was tied to a roughly 18% higher risk of cardiovascular death.

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