Are Heatburn Drugs Dangerous for the Heart?
Another recent news item was a report that the proton pump inhibitors
Nexium (left) and Prilosec (below) might be bad for the heart. The FDA began investigating reports that Astra Zeneca, the manufacturer of the popular acid reflux drugs, had two small studies that suggested the possibility of a risk. Those studies had compared heartburn sufferers over 5 to 14 years who were treated with either medication or surgery.
The study found that more patients treated with the drugs had
heart attacks, heart failure or heart-related sudden death, as compared to those treated with surgery. The FDA concluded, however, that the patients who underwent surgery were younger and healthier than those treated by drugs, suggesting the heart link was a coincidence.
The FDA took the possibility of a link seriously, and looked at 14 additional studies, finding no evidence of a heart risk. While the FDA plans to complete its probe over the next three months, it did state that it does not believe that health care providers or patients should change either their prescribing practices or their use of these products at this time.
While it appears at this point that both classes of drugs remain safe, if you are taking either drug long-term, you should regularly check with your doctor to make sure that you still need to be on the medication and that it remains safe to do so.