Are proton pump inhibitors effective drugs? A recently published article assesses the implications of long-term use of proton pump inhibitors.
Proton pump inhibitors are drugs that are prescribed in response to acid-related conditions. The pharmaceutical industry has been experiencing over-prescription of these drugs, perhaps due to their mild side effects. As a result, complications with long-term proton pump inhibitor therapies are emerging. Drug-drug interaction, reduced vitamin and mineral absorption in the intestine, risk of infection, and kidney damage are all identified as potential adverse effects of proton pump inhibitors. An article published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology takes a look at the side effects of long-term use of proton pump inhibitors.
The article identifies that absorption of vitamins and minerals relies heavily on the gastric environment. With overuse of proton pump inhibitors, gastric changes would interfere with effective absorption of these nutrients. As a result, it was predicted that dementia may be a resulting effect of overuse of proton pump inhibitors. Associations between the drug type and cardiovascular risk and renal disease have also been recognized. Proton pump inhibitors reduce the secretion of gastric acid, which is an essential component of the digestive process. This inhibition may cause increased risk of infections.
When referencing previous research, the article found that further study was required to prove a causative relationship between malabsorption of vitamin B12 and overuse of proton pump inhibitors. In contrast, studies recognized that incomplete absorption of dietary calcium was associated with intake of omeprazole, a proton pump inhibitor. It was also identified that proton pump inhibitor medication significantly raised risks of dementia. A significant, albeit small, increase in risk of cardiovascular disease was noted in relation to overuse of the drug. Studies also confirmed the correlation between proton pump inhibitors and increased risks of infections.
The article effectively compiled previous research pertaining to proton pump inhibitor medication and carefully assessed the correlations between overuse of the drug and several biological conditions. The data is valuable for medical professionals when prescribing doses of proton pump inhibitors. It also provides opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to invest in research of drugs that may eliminate such side effects and perhaps introduce new and improved alterations of the drug type.
Written By: Shrishti Ahuja, BSc