elringtons health law update – evidence growing on the serious side effects of a common reflux drug


Update by Tom Maling

New research shows that common reflux drugs can increase your risk of premature death.

If you take drugs such as Nexium or Somac or Pariet, then you are taking a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI). PPIs are medications used to treat reflux. A whopping 19 million prescriptions were written in Australia in 2012-2013. While these medications are widely used, there is growing evidence that they are linked with increased risks of kidney disease, dementia and bone fractures in people with osteoporosis.

Now a US study has observed a 25% increased risk of death among people taking PPIs. The longer a PPI was taken, the greater the risk.

The prescribing practices for PPIs, like many other medications, is under frequent review. NPS MedicineWise, an Australian not-for-profit aimed at promoting quality use of medications, has recommended review of long term PPI use.

If you’re taking a PPI, and have been for a long time, you should make sure you have discussed your long-term use with your doctor. Medications are generally safe, however when things go wrong, they can have catastrophic consequences. Limit the possibility of this happening to you by keeping yourself informed about what medications you take and the risks and benefits.

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