Study: Popular heartburn medications may increase dementia risk

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Credit: Getty Images

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A preliminary study conducted by German researchers found an association in the use of proton pump inhibitors and an increased risk of dementia.

The researchers stressed that the study’s results only demonstrated an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship, and that clinical trials would be necessary to explore the association further.

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The study, published Monday in JAMA, studied the increased dementia risk for elderly patients using proton pump inhibitors, known as PPIs. The drugs examined in the study included omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole, esomeprazole and rabeprazole, which includes popular brands such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid. A pool of over 73,000 patients, age 75 and over, were analyzed for the study. Germany's largest health insurer provided the data used in the study.

The researchers found a 44 percent increased risk of dementia in those elderly patients who were regularly taking PPIs versus those who were not taking the heartburn medications.

According to Medical Daily, the use of PPIs has also been linked to an increased risk of kidney disease.