Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a popular class of heartburn medications that includes Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid. These medications, which are available over the counter (without a prescription), lower the amount of stomach acid produced by the stomach. Concern has been increasing that Americans might be overusing PPIs to treat minor cases of heartburn or acid reflux. And, a new study published in the journal JAMA Neurology, shows heartburn drugs and dementia are linked, in that these drugs may raise a senior’s risk of developing dementia.
Researchers collected data from a large German health insurance firm on almost 74,000 seniors aged 75 or older. The data ran from 2004 to 2011, and included diagnoses and drug prescriptions. About 2,950 patients regularly used PPIs, which for this study was defined as at least one PPI prescription in each quarter of an 18-month interval. Regular users of PPIs had a 44% increased risk of dementia compared with those not receiving PPI medications. Read more