Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are some of the most widely used medications on the market.
They work by poisoning an enzyme that is responsible for stomach cells’ ability to make hydrochloric acid. Unfortunately, these drugs are associated with a host of adverse effects including osteoporosis, heart attacks, and abnormal bone fractures.
Now we can add strokes to that list.
According to Medscape, a Danish study presented at the American Heart Association 2016 Scientific Sessions reported that PPIs were associated with a 20 percent increase in risk for ischemic stroke.
Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked, causing a part of the brain supplied by that vessel to die. PPIs reduce the production of nitric oxide, which is an important substance naturally produced that can keep arteries dilated.
PPIs were approved only for short-term use — about a few weeks. However, many patients take PPIs for years.
As more and more adverse effects are associated with PPI use, it should send a message that PPIs should only be prescribed for the shortest time period and as a last resort when other methods fail.
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