People who use commonly-prescribed heartburn medication are 70 per cent more likely to be admitted to hospital for infectious gastroenteritis, new research has shown.
Proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, are one of the world’s most commonly used gastric acid suppressants, with more than 19 million scripts prescribed each year in Australia.
A study led by the Australian National University has found people who use the medication are much more likely to be hospitalised for gastro.
The increased risk is caused by a significant reduction in the amount of acid made by the stomach when using the medication.
The research, which will be published in the journal PLOS ONE, looked at gastro cases in Australians over the age of 45.
“The elderly and those with chronic bowel problems are most at risk,” lead author Yingxi Chen said.
“These patients should be having a conversation with their doctor to ensure that they are on right dose and that these drugs are the right fit for them.”
The study found gastro results in just over 13 million lost days of work in Australia each year.
“There is no doubt that PPIs are an effective treatment for reflux and heartburn,” Ms Chen said.
“However, clinicians and the patients using them should be fully aware of the side effects when considering PPI use and dosage.”