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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Can Heartburn Drugs Give You a Heart Attack?

English: Zantac (Australian packaging)
English: Zantac (Australian packaging) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Popular heartburn drugs may cause heart disease, according to an alarming new study from Houston Methodist Hospital. The drugs in question are proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs for short, such as Prevacid, Prilosec, and Nexium. These are some of the pharmaceutical industry's biggest-selling medications.

Earlier research found that among people who already have heart disease, PPIs may increase the odds of a second heart attack. But the new study found a side effect that seems to affect even healthy people. When PPIs block production of stomach acid, they also constrict blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure and a weakened heart.
John Cooke, M.D., the study's principal investigator, recommends that anyone who takes PPIs discuss with their physician if they need to be on these drugs.
"If something is needed for the stomach, a good alternative would be the H2 antagonists like ranitidine," he tells Newsmax Health. (Ranitidine is the generic form of Zantac and Tritec. Tagamet and Pepcid are other H2 antagonists.)

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