Update: For patients concerned about recent reports on acid reflux medications

In recent months, a number of studies have been published citing a link between the use of Proton Pump Inhibitors and various medical problems, specifically, an increased association with heart attacks, kidney disease and, most recently, dementia. We at Capital Digestive Care have prepared the following points to clarify the current state of medical knowledge on this issue. Our goal is to enhance your understanding of any risk associated with PPI medications you may be taking for your own medical condition.

  •  Proton Pump Inhibitors are the most commonly prescribed medication for the treatment of acid reflux and other acid related diseases, such as GERD and peptic ulcer disease. These medications emerged in the late 1970s and have been used safely for almost 40 years.
  •  All medications and medical interventions, including the use of PPIs, have associated risks and side effects. It is up to the physician and the patient to discuss the risks and side effects of any intervention and determine the appropriate course of action.
  •  Generally speaking, the benefit of PPI use outweighs the risks, although it is always advisable to use the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time. Most patients require these medications only episodically but some patients suffer from more chronic conditions, requiring prolonged use of medications. For these patients, the benefits of preventing more serious conditions such as ulcers and esophageal cancer are substantial.

The few recent reports on PPIs have been retrospective studies, meaning they look at historical data. While these reports seem to demonstrate a statistical correlation, correlations per se do not mean causation, and none of these reports identify a way the associated condition could be caused by the use of PPIs. Without further studies on these issues, it’s difficult to justify forgoing the benefits of PPI use for most patients. Similar studies, with different claims, have been released in the past, but after long-term evaluation, the initial results suggesting causation of problems could not be substantiated. Future prospective (looking forward not backward) studies are needed.

If you have continuing concerns, please contact your doctor. We are always happy to review and discuss your individual condition and treatment plan.