New Study Finds that PPI use May Not be Linked to Dementia
01. 22. 2018
Proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, are often the first line of defense against acid reflux and heartburn. Widely available in over-the-counter form, PPIs reduce the amount of stomach acid by blocking production made by glands in the lining of the stomach. A lower volume of stomach acid gives the esophagus time to heal and prevents further damage.
For years, medical professionals deemed PPIs safe for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and acid-related conditions. In 2011, up to 1 in 5 adults reported using PPIs, sometimes more than once daily. However, recent studies suggested that PPIs posed serious health risks like fractures, kidney disease and dementia. Now, some researchers claim these studies may be inaccurate.
According to a new article in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia) may not be associated with PPI usage. Researchers examined data from 3,484 adults aged 65 and older who participated in the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study. None of the participants had dementia at the onset of the study, and they were followed for an average of 7.5 years.
Every two years, participants were evaluated for dementia. Those who tested positive were given comprehensive examinations to measure their cognition and decision-making abilities. These participants also received follow-up tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Researchers used data from the ACT study to learn how many participants took proton pump inhibitors and for how long. In all, about 24 percent of participants developed dementia over the duration of the study period. Of those who developed dementia, only 670 developed Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. The researchers agreed that other safety concerns exist with long-term PPI usage, but they did not find that dementia was linked to PPIs (source: Science Daily).
Because of the possible complications of long-term PPI use, it is still recommended that PPI treatments last no more than 14 days. Make an appointment with your gastroenterologist if you experience chronic symptoms of acid reflux. Your doctor can determine the nature of your digestive condition and develop a comprehensive treatment plan that is safe and effective.