Widely used heartburn medications to treat acid reflux might raise the risk for dementia in patients 75 and older. That’s according to a new study by German researchers. The report was recently published in the journal JAMA Neurology. Acid reflux is when gastric fluid is regurgitated into the esophagus, which can cause heartburn.
The study suggest regular use of the gastric reflux drugs, known as proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s) like Prevacid, Nexium, and Prilosec, increased the risk of dementia by 44% than those not taking the drugs. Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey, a gastroenterologist at Saint Thomas Health, says while the research is intriguing, there’s no reason to panic. Dr. Lindsey says the study only demonstrated an association between the drugs and dementia, not a direct cause and effect.
However, Dr. Lindsey says since the news of this study has come out, her office has been flooded with calls and emails from patients asking if it’s still safe to take these acid reflux medications. Although she believes more research is needed, it has changed the way she prescribes these types of medications. Watch the story for more information.