Some of the latest health news notes that acid reflux drugs may not be safe. Why is this important for middle-age women? It turns out that women are at an increased risk of gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) as they start the menopausal transition so we may be turning to acid reflux drugs for relief.
So what is GERD? This video provides a good overview.
New Study on Certain GERD Medications and Heart Attacks
Researchers from Houston Methodist Hospital and Stanford University explored the relationship between medications that are taken for GERD and heart attacks. Their analysis involved 16 millions of electronic health records from nearly 3 million patients.
They found that patients who were taking proton pump inhibitors (think Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid) had between 16-20 percent higher risk of heart attack. In comparison, patients who took H2 blockers (such as Zantac and Tagament) didn’t have the same level of heart attack risk. The researchers noted that their analysis showed an association but does not prove without a doubt that these drugs caused the heart attacks. Therefore, additional research is needed.
What Should You Do?
Even though the researchers only found an association, I’d encourage women who are going through any part of the menopausal transition and who also taking medications from GERD to talk to their doctors. That’s because women’s risk of heart attack increases as they go through the menopausal transition. Also consider making lifestyle changes that may help control acid reflux.