According to a June 10 article in the New York Times by Nicholas Bakalar, new findings have shown that a commonly used drug to treat heartburn may cause an increased chance of heart attacks. In an analysis of data from almost 3 million people, PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec and Prevacid, were found to be linked to an increase in heart attacks.
While previous studies have shown poor results for people with heart disease, this new analysis was done on otherwise healthy individuals. For those with heart disease, the link likely comes due to an interaction with drugs commonly used to treat heart disease.
To determine these findings, researchers used data mining, to analyze large amounts of data over time – in this case, dating back to 2000.
“This is the kind of analysis now possible because electronic medical records are widely available,” said the lead author, Nigam H. Shah, an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford. “It’s a benefit of the electronic records system that people are always talking about.”
Disclaimer: DO NOT STOP TAKING YOUR PPIs BECAUSE OF THIS UNTIL YOU DISCUSS WITH YOUR DOCTOR”. We need to do a prospective study of this “association” (not “cause and effect”), and this study did NOT take into account whether the people who had the heart attacks were obese, alcoholics, had Diabetes/Hypertension, etc. ,and the increased risk was only 16%-20%.