Do heartburn drugs cause heart attacks? Drugs such as Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid – commonly taken for heartburn – may raise their users risks of heart attack. The journal PLOS | ONE reported on June 10, 2015 that these “protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been associated with adverse clinical outcomes among clopidrogrel (the generic name) users after an acute coronary syndrome.”
The study authors queried more than 16 million clinical documents on 2.9 million people to determine whether PPI’s were linked with cardiovascular risks. The authors found that people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)have a 1.16 fold increase (95% Cl 1.09-1.24) with myocardial infarction (or heart attack). “Survival analysis in a prospective cohort found a two-fold HR=2.00;95% Cl 1.07-3.78; P=0.031) increase in association with cardiovascular mortality.” They also found H2 blockers – one alternative treatment for GERD – were not associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Had such pharmacovigilance algorithms been in place, the authors said this risk could have been flagged some 15 years ago. Their conclusion was consistent with their pre-clinical findings, that PPIs may adversely impact vascular function, that PPI exposure is associated with risk for MI (heart attack).