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Monday, July 27, 2015

This Little Purple Pill (And Others) Could Increase Your Risk For Heart Attack

This Little Purple Pill (And Others) Could Increase Your Risk For Heart Attack
Heartburn is an irritation of the esophagus that is caused by stomach acid. It creates a burning sensation in the upper abdomen or below the breast bone. Many people get it so often they take medication for it. But research is now showing that "the little purple pill" and other heartburn medication can increase your risk for heart attack.

How PPIs work

The little purple pill, Nexium, along with other heartburn medication like Prilosec and Prevacid, were associated with a 16 to 21 percent increase in heart attack risk, according to research conducted by Stanford University. What makes them dangerous is the fact that they work by reducing the production of nitric oxide in the cells lining the body’s blood vessels. This includes the heart. The heart needs nitric oxide to improve blood flow. Too little can lead to heart disease.

These drugs are in a category called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Other types of drugs used for heartburn, called H2 blockers, showed no such correlation to heart attacks. Examples of H2 blockers include Tagamet, Pepcid and Zantac. But PPIs remain among the world’s most widely prescribed drugs, and more than 100 million prescriptions are filled every year in the U.S.

Check with your Dr.

Researchers advise patients who have heart problems to check with their doctor before taking any PPI medication for heartburn. This includes similar over-the-counter drugs, too.

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