APR 06, 2016 04:53 AM PDT

Do Antacids Increase the Risk of Dementia?

In the United States, the use of medications to control acid reflux and the resulting heartburn it can cause has risen dramatically. Known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) the medications work by turning off or reducing the production of acid in the stomach. One study shows that the number of prescriptions written for PPIs in the emergency departments of hospitals nearly doubled in the period from 2001 to 2010.  Another study, from Johns Hopkins suggested the use of these medications was associated with and increased risk of chronic kidney disease.
Some antacid drugs have been linked to dementia risk

The latest information on the drugs comes from a study done in Germany and it suggests an association between the use of PPI medications and the incidence of dementia. The recent study involved German researchers collecting data from a large health insurance firm on almost 74,000 seniors aged 75 or older. The information in the data based included the period from 2004 to 2011, as well as information on patient diagnoses and prescription histories. The researchers reported that about 2,950 patients used PPI medications on a regular basis, which was defined in the study as at least one prescription for the medication every three months over an 18 month period.
 
About 2,950 patients regularly used PPIs, which for this study was defined as at least one PPI prescription in each quarter of an 18-month interval. These patients were found to have a 44% increased risk of dementia compared to patients who did not report the use of acid reducing medications. CBS news reported on the findings, but also asked experts not involved in the study what the implications could be for patients using acid controlling medications. Dr. Arun Swaminath, director of the inflammatory bowel disease program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City told CBS that the study isn’t clear about the over-the-counter availability of the medications and that could mean the risk of dementia is overestimated in the study.
 
In a press release about the study author Britta Haenisch, from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn said,  “To evaluate cause-and-effect relationships between long-term PPI use and possible effects on cognition in the elderly, randomized, prospective clinical trials are needed. Clinicians should follow guidelines for PPI prescription, to avoid overprescribing PPIs and inappropriate use."
 
It’s important to note that the study authors only suggested an association between dementia and PPI medications. In the study conclusion they wrote,  “The present study can only provide a statistical association between PPI use and risk of dementia. The possible underlying causal biological mechanism has to be explored in future studies. To evaluate and establish direct cause and effect relationships between PPI use and incident dementia in the elderly, randomized, prospective clinical trials are needed.” 
 
Take a look at the video below for more information on this study. While no causal relationship is found in the most recent research, it’s important to know how these medications work and what the risks might be.
 
 
 Sources: NIH, Eureka Press Release CBS News, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, JAMA Neurology
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
SEP 27, 2018
Neuroscience
SEP 27, 2018
A New Science Center For Brain Research
Neuroscientists all over the globe are actively looking for more effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease, but it hasn't been a very productive...
OCT 04, 2018
Cannabis Sciences
OCT 04, 2018
Why Does Marijuana Get You High?
With all this new research finally coming out about the effects of marijuana on various subjects (effects on mental health, prenatal exposure, adolescents,...
NOV 19, 2018
Neuroscience
NOV 19, 2018
Researchers identify neural pathways that control behavioral responses to noxious stimuli
Behavioral responses to the pain perception could range from reflexive withdrawal to more complex behaviors to avoid or decrease the pain. Neurons in the lateral division of the parabrachial...
NOV 25, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 25, 2018
Snails Are More Likely to Take Risks When They're Hungry
Snails have particular food preferences that dictate what they will and won’t eat, just like any other animal out there. But as you might come to exp...
DEC 10, 2018
Neuroscience
DEC 10, 2018
Brain's Dopamine: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Dopamine in the brain is an important neurotransmitter that is often attributed to pleasure chemical. But that's not all it does; research has identified the role of dopamine in fear, emotion...
DEC 13, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
DEC 13, 2018
Insights Into the Mechanisms Underlying Anxiety
Up to 40 million Americans have an anxiety disorder in any given year, and it's thought that only about a third get treatment....
Loading Comments...