New Study Finds PPIs Increase Stomach Cancer Risk
Millions of Americans suffer from heartburn. In an effort to relieve their discomfort, many turn to proton pump inhibitors or PPIs, which can be obtained both over-the-counter and by prescription at almost every pharmacy. The past few years have seen the publication of several different studies linking the use of common PPIs like Nexium and Prilosec to serious side effects, but these pale in comparison to the latest study from researchers in the UK.
Researchers looked at patients who took PPIs daily to manage heartburn and discovered they were at a much higher risk of developing stomach cancer. Patients who use PPIs long-term have a 2.4 times greater risk of developing stomach cancer.
The risk of developing stomach cancer also increased with the frequency and duration of use. For patients who took PPIs for over a year, the risk of developing stomach cancer increased five-fold and for patients that took PPIs for three or more years, their risk increased eight-fold.
While this isn’t the first link between PPIs and stomach cancer, this was the first study excluding patients suffering from an infection causing bacteria in the gut that can also cause stomach cancer. The study allowed doctors to look more closely and accurately at the effects of PPIs over time.
How Do PPIs Work?
Heartburn occurs when acid from the stomach rises up and burns parts of the esophagus. PPIs work to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach, thereby relieving heartburn. However, PPIs aren’t the only medication that can relieve heartburn. Another popular class of drugs, referred to as H2 Inhibitors, also reduce acid production in the stomach, but comes with fewer side effects.
In fact, researchers in this latest study determined H2 Inhibitors did not have any link to an increase in stomach cancer like PPIs did. PPI manufacturers have a responsibility to warn patients of the risks associated with their drugs. Unfortunately, when patients are unaware of the risks, they could develop severe and life-threatening side effects, which is particularly devastating considering there are safer alternatives readily available.
PPI Injury Lawyers
In addition to stomach cancer, PPIs have been linked to chronic kidney disease, kidney failure, life threatening infections, and other serious conditions. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury from a PPI, contact the experienced pharmaceutical lawyers at Blizzard & Nabers today. We can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf.