(RxWiki News) Long-term use of a common medication for treating excess stomach acid may be linked to early death, according to a new study.
Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) were tied to an increased risk of early death, this study found. This finding led the study authors to suggest that consumers take extra precaution with the use of PPIs and limit the amount of time they take them. These medications are easily available over-the-counter.
These researchers noted that their findings were not conclusive. Still, in their study of more than 6 million people in the United States, they found that PPI use was tied to an increased risk of early death — compared to patients who were using another type of stomach acid-reducing medication called histamine H2 receptor antagonists. The average follow-up time was six years.
The findings were similar when these researchers compared PPI users to those who didn't use any stomach acid medications.
The causes of death for patients in this study were not available, and the patients were mostly older, white veterans. In addition, this is an observational study, so cause and effect could not be confirmed. These are all limitations of this study, these researchers noted.
This study's findings should not affect PPI use among patients whose health care providers have told them to use the medications, these researchers said. If you're concerned about the effects of any of your medications, talk to your health care provider.
This study was published in the journal BMJ Open.
The study authors disclosed no outside funding sources or potential conflicts of interest.