Commonly-prescribed acid suppression medications or heartburn drugs like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) were found to be linked with an increased risk of intestinal infections with C.difficile and campylobacter bacteria, finds a new population-based study from Scotland.
Compared with individuals in the community who did not take acid suppression medications, those who did had 1.7-times and 3.7-times increased risks of C. difficile and Campylobacter, respectively. Among hospitalized patients, those using the medications had 1.4-times and 4.5-times increased risks, respectively.
‘Heartburn drugs were found to increase the risk of intestinal infections.’
Although acid suppression therapy is often considered relatively free from side effects, the findings suggest that there are significant adverse gastrointestinal consequences of their use. "Users of these medications should be particularly vigilant about food hygiene as the removal of stomach acid makes them more easily infected with agents such as Campylobacter, which is commonly found on poultry," said Prof. Thomas MacDonald, senior author of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study.