For millions of Americans, heartburn is a discomfort that they have learned to live with. Many reach for over-the-counter medications like Prilosec and Nexium for relief. Yet, when a recent study noted a correlation between these medications and dementia, the public health alarm bells rang out. However, Forbes reports that a new study might indicate no correlation between these medications and the degenerative condition.
The original study, which was published in JAMA Neurology last year, showed a strong correlation between the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are used by millions of Americans to treat a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and ulcers, and dementia. The JAMA study included more than 70,000 participants aged 75 or older, all of whom were patients from a German statutory health insurer. When compared to patients who did not receive PPI medication, those who did receive PPI medication showed a higher incidence of dementia.
The latest study, which was published in the Gastroenterology, was an analysis from a larger study. The participants, 14,000 in total, were in a study titled the Nurses Health Study II. Participants completed cognitive function tests. Decreased scores on these tests would indicate the early stages of dementia. Women who tested to have decreased cognitive function had been taking PPIs for between 9 and 14 years, which qualified as “long term use.” However, the study did not conclude that there was a correlation between PPI use and decreased cognitive function.
In the first study, it is important to note that “correlation does not equal causation.” In the second study, it is of equally important to note that its authors have clear ties to the pharmaceutical companies that make PPIs.
While there may be a hint towards a problem linking PPIs and dementia, there is no cause for alarmist headlines. There is, however, sufficient cause for further study.
Have you been injured by taking a prescription or over-the-counter PPI? Contact the law offices of John Foy & Associates. Our experienced attorneys will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today.