Acid suppressants may raise intestine risk

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Taking commonly prescribed acid suppression drugs such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is associated with an increased risk of intestinal infections, a population based study in Scotland has shown.1

Acid suppressants are increasingly prescribed in community and hospital settings in the UK. The drugs have been implicated as a possible risk factor for bacterial gastroenteritis, but studies have previously shown inconsistent findings.

The new study analysed routine health records of 188 323 people with at least one dispensed prescription of PPIs or H2 receptor antagonists and compared them with 376 646 matched controls not taking these medicines. All study participants were registered with a GP in Tayside, Scotland, during the study period of January 1999 to February 2013.

The results, reported in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology,1 showed that people taking PPIs had a 70% higher risk of gastroenteritis due to confirmed infection with Clostridium difficile than matched controls not taking these medicines, after controlling for confounding variables (adjusted hazard ratio 1.70 (95% confidence interval 1.28 to 2.25)).

And peo...