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PPIs and PNEUMONIA

ANCHOR LEAD:  PEOPLE TAKING CERTAIN ANTACIDS MAY BE AT HIGHER RISK FOR PNEUMONIA, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Proton pump inhibitors  or PPIS are one very effective treatment for heartburn, and they’ve available over the counter.  But now these medications have been associated with an increased risk of pneumonia, especially in those aged 40 to 50.  Patrick Okolo, a gastroenterologist at Johns Hopkins, says caution is needed.

OKOLO:  For patients who take them regularly, particularly patients who are starting these PPIs, it should always be done under the auspices of a physician, and that’s because when you look at these studies that suggest a thirty percent or so increase or seventy percent increase they should be prescribed knowing what the background risk is.  So basically, I don’t think these drugs, given all the emerging evidence, even though they’re very safe, I think that having a doctor to help one navigate through some of these nuances, is just absolutely a necessity.             :29

By reducing stomach acid, the medications may remove one protection against infection.  I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.


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