Heart-burn cure may be worse than cause 
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 Heart-burn cure may be worse than cause

"Heart-burn cure may be worse than cause", Seattle Times, December 20,

Holiday revelers beware: Seasonal indulgences such as eggnog and
fruitcake might give you heartburn, but the acid-fighting medicine you
take for relief might lead to something worse, researchers say.

People on popular prescription {*filter*} for treating acid reflux -
Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium - seem more prone to getting a
potentially dangerous diarrhea caused by the bacterium Clostridium
difficile, new research shows. C-diff, as it's known, can cause severe
diarrhea and crampy intestinal inflammation called colitis.

Dr. Sandra Dial and colleagues at McGill University in Montreal
examined data on more than 18,000 patients in the United Kingdom from
1994 to 2004. During that time, 1,672 cases of C-diff were diagnosed,
and the numbers increased from less than 1 per 100,000 in 1994 to 22
per 100,000 last year.

Patients with prescriptions for powerful acid fighters called proton
pump inhibitors, which include Prilosec and Prevacid, were almost three
times more likely to be diagnosed with the bug than those not taking
the {*filter*}.

Those on less potent prescription {*filter*} called H2 receptor antagonists,
which include Pepcid and Zantac, were two times more likely than
nonusers to get C-diff infections.

The widely used and heavily promoted {*filter*} reduce levels of gastric
acid that can keep C-diff at bay.

Dr. L. Clifford McDonald, a researcher at the federal Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, said proton pump inhibitors recently
were implicated in a C-diff outbreak in Maine.

"It's not surprising in my mind that there could be some association"
with acid-fighting {*filter*}, said McDonald.

Most study patients hadn't been recently hospitalized and weren't
taking antibiotics, both risk factors for C-difficile infections. The
study will appear in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical

A co-author is a consultant for AstraZeneca, which markets Prilosec and
Nexium, and Altana Pharma, which makes and markets another prescription
heartburn drug, Protonix, in Europe.

A spokesman for Wyeth, which markets Protonix in the United States,
said the company hadn't seen the research and declined to comment.

AstraZeneca spokeswoman Cindy Callaghan said, "Further research is
needed ... to determine the validity of a potential link."

Dr. Michael Brown, a gastroenterologist at Rush University Medical
Center in Chicago, who was not involved in the study, said short-term
use of potent acid-fighting {*filter*} is unlikely to increase infection
risks in otherwise healthy people. But he said the study results
suggest doctors and patients "have to think twice about using such
heavy acid suppression" over the long term.

Sun, 08 Jun 2008 11:40:34 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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