June 19, 2024

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Popular Acid Reflux Medication Linked to 33% Increase in Dementia Risk

Popular Acid Reflux Medication Linked to 33% Increase in Dementia Risk



Popular Acid Reflux Medication Linked to 33% Increase in Dementia Risk.

A recent study published in the journal “Neurology,” by the American Academy of Neurology, suggests a potential association between long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), a class of drugs used to reduce stomach acid reflux, and an increased risk of dementia.

Importantly, the study does not establish a direct causation between these medications and dementia, but rather highlights a correlation.

Popular Acid Reflux Medication Linked to 33% Increase in Dementia Risk

Gastroesophageal reflux refers to the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus, often occurring after meals or while lying down.

This condition can lead to symptoms like heartburn and ulcers. If acid reflux becomes chronic, it can progress to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which in turn might raise the risk of esophageal cancer.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are drugs that reduce stomach acid production. They work by inhibiting the proton pumps in the stomach lining and are commonly prescribed for conditions like GERD and peptic ulcers. PPIs decrease acid production by inhibiting the enzymes responsible for acid production in the stomach lining.

Dr. Kamakshi Lakshminarayan, a member of the American Academy of Neurology and author of the study from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, stated, “Proton pump inhibitors are effective tools for managing acid reflux, however, previous research has associated long-term use with higher risks of stroke, fractures, and chronic kidney disease. Some individuals use these medications regularly, so we investigated whether they might be linked to an increased risk of dementia. While we did not find a connection with short-term use and dementia, we did find that prolonged use of these drugs increased the risk of dementia.”

The study involved 5,712 participants aged 45 and above who did not have dementia at the start of the research. Their average age was 75 years.

Researchers determined participants’ use of acid-reducing medications by reviewing their medication records during study visits and annual phone interviews. Among the participants, 1,490 individuals, or 26%, had used these medications. Participants were categorized into four groups based on their medication usage: those who had never used the medication, those who used it for up to 2.8 years, those who used it between 2.8 and 4.4 years, and those who used it for more than 4.4 years.

The participants were then followed for a median of 5.5 years. During this period, 585 individuals (10%) developed dementia.

Among the 4,222 people who had never used the medication, 415 developed dementia, equating to 19 cases per thousand person-years. (Person-years refers to the number of people in the study multiplied by the number of years they were in the study.) Among the 497 people who had used the medication for more than 4.4 years, 58 developed dementia, or 24 cases per thousand person-years.

After adjusting for factors such as age, gender, race, as well as health-related factors like hypertension and diabetes, the researchers found that individuals who used acid reflux medication for over 4.4 years had a 33% higher risk of developing dementia compared to those who had never used the medication.

The researchers did not find an elevated risk of dementia for individuals who used the medication for less than 4.4 years.

Lakshminarayan noted, “More research is needed to confirm our findings and to explore the potential reasons behind the potential connection between long-term PPI use and higher dementia risk. While there are various approaches to manage acid reflux, such as taking antacids, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding late-night meals and certain foods, different approaches might suit different individuals. It’s crucial for individuals on these medications to consult their doctors and discuss the most suitable treatment options before making any changes, as abruptly stopping the medication might worsen symptoms.”

Popular Acid Reflux Medication Linked to 33% Increase in Dementia Risk

(source:internet, reference only)


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