Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Early Warning on Heartburn Drugs?

An extremely popular class of drugs taken by millions of people with acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), may raise the risk of heart disease and heart attack, according to a new study published in the current issue of Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association .

Research by John P. Cooke, clinical professor and chair of the department of cardiovascular sciences at Houston Methodist Hospital, found that stomach acid-suppressing proton pump inhibitors (brand names Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid) may cause blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow.

Studying both mouse and human tissue cultures, the researchers found that PPIs led to an approximately 25 percent increase in a chemical messenger called ADMA (asymmetric dimethylarginine), considered a cardiovascular risk factor.

ADMA suppresses blood vessels’ ability to produce nitric oxide, a relaxant that protects artery walls. Nitric oxide is so important to cardiovascular health that its discovery was honored with a Nobel Prize in 1998.
I've been using Prevacid for many years now, since a bad bout of chronic heartburn that stopped responding to the more short term acid blockers (H2 blockers) like Zantac.  It's been a god send.  Now I only get heartburn if I commit the egregious examples of overeating.

I don't intend to stop taking Prevacid over this news, but it is worth watching the medical news to see if this goes anywhere; at this point, it's only seen in mice:
Of course, mouse studies can only take us so far, and may not extend to humans–they often times don’t. The researchers call for a large-scale study to determine if PPIs pose a risk to heart health. “Of concern, this adverse mechanism is also likely to extend to the general population using PPIs,” read the study’s conclusions.

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