Proton Pump Inhibitors May Increase Risk for C Difficile Infection in Children

Published on November 21, 2018 by Laurie Villanueva

A new study is pointing to yet another potentially serious side effects related to proton pump inhibitors, a class of heart burn medications that includes Nexium, Prilosec, and PrevAcid.

The findings, which were recently published in the Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection, suggest proton pump inhibitors may increase the risk of severe C Difficile infection when administered to children.

How Was the Study Conducted?

The authors of the paper observed 124 children from 2011 through 2018, all between the ages of 1 and 18. For their purposes, they  defined C difficile infection as 3 or more loose stool in the previous 24 hours.

The authors then reviewed more than 1,200 stool samples that had undergone testing for C Difficile colonization. They subsequently discovered and isolated 323 positive samples.

Overall, the research team identified 49 children who met the definition of C difficile infection and 75 who had colonization. They classified 13 of the infections as severe or complication

Study Authors: Prescribe Proton Pump Inhibitors with Caution

The investigators next categorized infected patients by severity to better understand the independent risk factors for each case.

The analysis ultimately identified 2 major risk factors for severe pediatric C difficile. Age was the first independent risk factor, as children 4 and older had more severe infections. Prior proton pump inhibitor use (within 1 month) was the other.

According to the authors, their findings are a reminder that “proton pump inhibitors should be prescribed with caution, especially in those with risks for C difficile infection.”

Proton Pump Inhibitor Side Effects and Litigation

Millions of people rely on prescription and over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors to treat GERD and other acid-related digestive issues. In many cases, however, these individuals use the drugs far longer than what is currently recommended.

Unfortunately, recent studies suggest overuse may increase an individual’s risk for serious health consequences, such as heart attacks, bone fractures, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, gastric cancer, and kidney complications.

In fact, proton pump inhibitor manufacturers currently face thousands of lawsuits that allege long-term use of the medications contributed to kidney failure, chronic kidney disease, and other serious renal complications.

Additionally, a growing number of plaintiffs claim to have developed gastric cancer due to Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors.

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