Recently-published research suggests that seniors who make frequent use of proton pump inhibitors like Nexium may be more likely to develop dementia. The findings will do little to quell concerns that the popular heartburn drugs are being overused.
In addition to Nexium, proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, include Pevacid and Prilosec.In 2013, it was estimated that more than 15 million Americans were prescribed one of these medications to treat conditions like acid reflux disease. However, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine last January noted that as many as 70% of all PPI prescriptions may be inappropriate. According to RxInjuryHelp.com, the same study suggested that the drugs could increase a patient risk of chronic kidney disease by as much as 46%. The medications have been linked to several other complications, including hip fractures and an increased risk of heart attack.
The findings regarding dementia were reported in JAMA Neurology this past February. The authors of the study analyzed data collected by a large German health insurance company from 2004 and 2011. The data set covered almost 74,000 seniors aged 75 or older, and included information on diagnoses and drug prescriptions.
Nearly 3,000 patients included in the study regularly used PPIs, which the authors defined as at least one prescription in each quarter of an 18-month interval. The analysis suggested that those patients had a 44 percent increased risk of dementia compared with those who did not use PPIs.
The research team was quick to note that the findings do not prove that a cause –and-effect relationship between PPIs and dementia.
“To evaluate cause-and-effect relationships between long-term PPI use and possible effects on cognition in the elderly, randomized, prospective clinical trials are needed,” the study’s lead author told CBS News.
For now, the authors of the report recommend that doctors follow current prescribing guidelines for PPIs, in order to avoid overprescribing and inappropriate use of the medications.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP offers free legal reviews to individuals who have been injured by prescription drugs, including Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid. To learn more about filing Nexium lawsuit, please call (888) 994-8177.