Millions of Americans take medications to fight heartburn every day, but the price they pay may harm much more than their pocketbook. Recent studies have found that proton pump inhibitors, which fight heartburn and acid reflux, may spur kidney disease, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and lower the odds of surviving cancer, in addition to several other serious medical problems.
Proton pump inhibitors or PPIs, are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, and many are available over-the-counter. Popular brands include Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, and Nexium. They reduce the amount of gastric acid produced by the stomach by inhibiting the enzyme that produces acid.
PPIs were found to increase the risk of:
Heart attacks: Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine found that using PPIs can increase the risk of heart attack. Patients who had already suffered heart attacks and took the blood thinner clopidogrel (Plavix), increased their risk of a second heart attack by 20 percent. Some experts worry that the risk may extend to everyone who takes PPIs, not just those who have had heart attacks and take blood thinners.