Popular Heartburn Medications Linked to Dementia
A new study suggests that a popular class of heartburn medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) might raise a senior’s risk of dementia. These drugs include brands such as Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid. The study conducted by German researchers was published in the journal JAMA Neurology. It found that people 75 years of age or older who regularly take the medication had a 44 percent increased risk of dementia, compared to seniors who did not use the drugs.
Unfortunately, researchers were only able to find an association, but not a cause-and-effect link. Because of this, they’re cautioning clinicians and asking them to follow guidelines for PPI prescriptions, to avoid over-prescribing PPIs and inappropriate use. In 2013, more than 15 million Americans used prescription PPIs at a total cost of more than $10 billion, according to a report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
It’s been suggested that Americans might be overusing PPIs to treat minor cases of heartburn or acid reflux. Another study published in January in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine reported that as many as 70 percent of PPI prescriptions in the U.S. have been handed out by doctors when it was not needed. It also reported that 25 percent of long-term users could stop taking the medication without suffering increased heartburn or acid reflux.
In addition to risk of dementia, overuse of PPIs could have other drastic effects on health, such as a 20 to 50 percent higher risk of chronic kidney disease. If you or a loved one is currently taking PPIs and looking for ways to ease off of medication, you can try eating smaller meals, avoiding chocolate and caffeine and staying upright for a few hours following each meal.
More than one million medication errors take place every year in hospitals, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies. If you have been harmed as a result of being given a wrong medication or the wrong dose by a doctor, pharmacy, nurse, or other medical professional, you should consult an experienced Phoenix medical malpractice attorney at Knapp & Roberts to learn what recourse you have. We offer a free consultation in which we will analyze the facts of your case and advise you on what is needed to bring an Arizona medical malpractice action. Arizona places strict time limits on filing a medical malpractice claim. If you wait too long, you risk losing your right to a recovery, so don’t wait. Call to schedule an appointment today at 480-991-7677.
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