Nexium Side Effects: Study Links Long-Term Use of Proton Pump Inhibitors to Gastroenteritis

Published on December 17, 2019 by Sandy Liebhard

A newly published study is pointing to yet another side effect potentially associated with the long-term use of Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors – viral gastroenteritis.

How the Study Was Conducted

The study, which appeared online on November 27th in JAMA Network Open, drew data from the Longitudinal Treatment Dynamics Database, which includes from 7,000 community pharmacies in continental France representing approximately 30% of the French population.

The study authors matched each patient who continuously used proton pump inhibitors during the winter of 2015-2016 to three who did not. They ultimately identified 233,596 continuou users (median age 70) and 626,887 non-users (median age 72).

What the Study Authors Concluded

The analysis suggested one case of acute gastroenteritis occurred for every 3,131 proton pump inhibitor users, compared with 4327 non-users. After controlling for age, sex, and treatments for the most common chronic conditions (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obstructive airway diseases, and conditions requiring a psychotropic medication), the study found a significant association between proton pump inhibitor use and acute gastroenteritis.

For every 153 patients who take proton pump inhibitors during winter months, one could be expected to fall ill from an enteric virus.

“Despite the limitations related to exposure and outcome ascertainment and potential residual confounding, the results reported in this study support the hypothesis that continuous PPI use is associated with an increased risk of infections with enteric viruses and motivate the need for further studies to confirm this association and investigate the pathophysiological mechanisms,” the study authors concluded.

Other Side Effects Linked to Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors are among the most popular drugs in the world. And they’re generally considered safe, these medications also among the most overprescribed, with many patients taking the medications far longer than recommended and for inappropriate indications.

Previous studies have linked long-term proton pump inhibitor use to a range of serious health consequences, including:

  • Heart attacks
  • Dementia
  • Bone fractures
  • Vitamin B deficiency
  • Low magnesium levels
  • Gastric cancer

A mounting body of research also suggests extended treatment with proton pump inhibitors may be associated with an increases risk of chronic kidney disease, kidney failure, and other renal complications.

More than 13,200 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits have been centralized  the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey. Plaintiffs involved in the litigation allege that their long-term use of Nexium, Prilosec, PrevAcid, Protonix, and Dexilant resulted in kidney failure and other serious renal problems. They further claim that the drugs’ manufacturers long concealed evidence linking their products to serious renal injuries but failed to provide the public with adequate notice of these risks.


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