Millions of people suffer from heartburn. To alleviate their condition, many turn to popular over-the-counter medications like Nexium. However, a recent study shows that it is possible that medications like Nexium may cause accelerated aging of blood vessel cells.
Blood vessel cells exposed to the antacid Nexium (esomeprazole) aged faster, which might hinder the tasks these cells perform to prevent heart attack and stroke.
This might offer an explanation as to why people using protein pump inhibitor medications like Nexium and Prilosec show increased risk of heart disease in some studies.
The senior author of the study, John Cooke, stated: “Our finding that the lining of blood vessels is impaired by proton pump inhibitors is a unifying mechanism for the reports that PPI users are at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and renal failure.”
AstraZeneca, the manufacturer of Nexium, released a statement taking note that the study was conducted in a laboratory setting. The study did not include humans in a controlled clinical trial. They also noted that PPIs were safe when used in accordance with the label.
However, many people do not take PPIs in accordance with the dosing guidelines. In the case of Nexium, there is a limit to a four-week course of treatment spread out over three times a year.
People use these medications outside the guidelines for long-term treatment of heartburn.
In the study, Cooke and his colleagues cultured the cells that line the walls of blood vessels. These cultures were then exposed to daily doses of Nexium in a similar dose to what a patient would receive. The cells produce substances that relax the blood vessel and create a “Teflon” like coating that prevents plaque or blood clots from sticking.
Researchers found that long-term PPI exposure interrupted the production of the acid used to clear waste products from the bloodstream. Once exposed to PPIs these cells did not produce enough acid to clear the waste.
The bottom line is that if you are taking a PPI, you should check with your doctor to ensure that you really need it. Lifestyle adjustments to diet and exercise can help to reduce heartburn symptoms.
If you have suffered complications or injury you believe may be related to taking a PPI drug like Nexium or Prilosec, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the law offices of John Foy & Associates. Our “Strong Arm” attorneys will assist you. Contact us today.