The chronic use of common antacid for the treatment of acidity, heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) may impair our blood vessel and speed up aging, according to US researchers.
It could also increase your risk of getting cardiovascular disease, vascular dementia, and renal failure, said the paper appeared in American Heart Association’s online journal ‘Circulation Research’, reported Newswise wire.
The researchers observed associations between the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)- a group of drugs used to reduce the production of acid in the stomach, and an increased risk of heart attack, renal failure, and dementia.
The researchers exposed human endothelial cells which line inside of blood vessels, over a period of time to these PPIs and observed accelerated aging of the cells.
“The PPIs also reduce acidity in lysosomes of the endothelial cell. The lysosomes are like cellular garbage disposals and need acid to work properly. “We observed cellular garbage accumulating in the endothelial cells, which sped up the aging process,” they said.
Anti-acid drugs like esomeprazole, widely sold under the brand name Nexium and used for the treatment of acidity problem are effective when taken as prescribed but long term use may be inappropriate, the study said.
However, the researchers said these drugs do not seem to adversely affect the heart and blood vessels when taken for a few weeks.
John Cooke, the paper’s senior author said while PPIs were shown to affect vascular aging, H2 blockers like ranitidine did not adversely affect the endothelium. Brand examples of H2 blockers are Zantac and Tagamet.
PPIs were the third-most taken type of drug in the U.S and are believed to account for $13 billion in annual global sales.
In addition to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), a digestive disorder and heartburn, physicians recommend PPIs for treatment of a wide range of disorders, including infection by the ulcer-causing bacterium.
PIs come in a variety of forms, always ending with the suffix “-prazole,” and other brand examples include Prilosec and PrevAcid.