London: Experts said people who take Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) for heartburn are more likely to die in the next six years than those who used H2 blockers and suggested that use of the drugs should be restricted in light of the new evidence.
Scientists found that people who take Pproton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), common drugs used to treat heartburn, are 25 per cent more likely to die in the next six years than those who use an alternative treatment, called H2 blockers, Mail Online reported tuesday.
More than five million bottles and packets are prescribed each year in England to treat gastroesophageal reflux, a severe form of heartburn.
"The drugs are not recommended for long-term use, but doctors fear that because they are so readily available, people may take them without medical supervision for years", they said.
The new research, by US experts at the Veterans Affairs Saint Louis Healthcare System and Washington University in Missouri, used records from army veterans to examine the risks of taking the drugs.
The researchers found people who had used the medicines were on average 25 per cent more likely to die than those who took H2 blockers during the study period, which lasted six years.
And they were 23 per cent more likely to die than people who took neither drug. The risks were particularly strong among people who took the drugs for longer periods.
For those who took them consistently for more than six months the risk of death rose to 31 per cent, and if people took them for more than a year the risk jumped again to 51 per cent.
The scientists, whose work is published in the BMJ Open journal, said they do not know exactly why this might be - and indeed could not prove that the drugs were actually causing the increased risk of death.