It’s already known that proton pump inhibitors like Nexium are associated with an increased risk of C. diff and other intestinal infections. Recently, two teams of researchers uncovered a possible mechanism behind these dangerous complications.
For the first study, researchers at the University of Groningen and Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, along with scientists at the Institute of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sequenced the bacterial DNA found in the fecal matter of 1,815 people. A comparison of profiles from proton pump inhibitor users and non-users found that patients taking the drugs have less gut bacterial diversity. The difference was seen even among proton pump inhibitor users who did not have any gastrointestinal ailments, suggesting that the drugs were to blame.
Similar results were reported in a second comparable study conducted by researchers at King’s College London, Cornell University and Columbia University. The study team also noted a decrease in diversity when they analyzed gut bacteria before and after patients took proton pump inhibitors for four to eight weeks.
The lack of bacterial diversity seen in these studies may create an environment that is more amenable to certain microbes, such as C. diff and salmonella. Such an imbalance could also influence intestinal absorption of calcium and other vitamins and mineral, which could explain why people who take proton pump inhibitors may be more likely to suffer bone fractures, low magnesium and B12 deficiency.
Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors are routinely used by Americans to relieve GERD, ulcers and other conditions related to excess acid production in the stomach. However, some research suggests the drugs are overused, which could lead to serious long-term health consequences. According to RXInjuryHelp.com, recent studies have even linked extended use of drugs like Nexium to kidney failure, chronic kidney disease, dementia, and increased heart attack risk. Research published just this month in Circulation Research also suggested that long-term exposure to proton pump inhibitors could accelerate the aging of blood vessels, which could explain why the drugs might cause these types of side effects.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is now offering free legal reviews to individuals who were diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, renal failure or other kidney complications following treatment with proton pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid. To learn more, please call (888) 994-8177.