Tags: Health Topics | Heart Disease | heart attack | heartburn | acid reflux | drugs | side effects

From Heartburn to Heart Attack: Side Effects of Acid Reflux Drugs

By    |   Thursday, 28 Jul 2016 06:18 PM

Heartburn can mimic the effects of a heart attack when pain and discomfort occur in the upper chest and throat as a result of acidic contents flowing up from the esophagus, known as acid reflux.

Certain foods and drinks trigger the burning sensation that starts in the chest and can bring up an acidic taste in the throat or mouth. Spicy foods, citrus products, or fatty and fried foods are among the offenders, but people may have different triggers.

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Prescribed and over-the-counter medications help to suppress acid production in the stomach, relieving or eliminating the symptoms experienced by many people with frequent heartburn or chronic acid reflux.

However, HealthDay reports long-term use of certain acid reflux drugs could increase the risk of a heart attack, according to a 2015 study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers analyzed nearly 300,000 adults with acid reflux disease and found that those taking proton pump inhibitors were 16 percent to 21 percent more likely to experience a heart attack than those not taking the medication.

Proton pump inhibitors include brand names such as Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid. The study did not link H2-blockers, another heartburn drug, to the heart attack risk, notes HealthDay. The researchers remain uncertain about the conclusions of the study.

People taking proton pump inhibitors might be suffering from other heart attack risk factors, such as obesity, or could have been in worse health than those not using the medication, according to Dr. John Cooke, a researcher in the study.

Drugs that stop stomach acid production could interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients, including magnesium, which improves blood flow in the arteries to help prevent heart disease.

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Some serious side effects of omeprazole, the generic name for Prilosec and Zegerid, stem from magnesium deficiency, Drugs.com reports. They include:

• Fast or uneven heart rate
• Dizziness
• Confusion
• Tremors
• Muscle cramps or spasms
• Cough
• Choking feeling

Kidney problems that cause frequent urination or blood in the urine are other serious side effects. Severe stomach pain or seizures also could occur.

The possibility of a heart attack comes from long-term use of proton pump inhibitors, according to the research.

Some side effects, such as headache or nausea, may occur with many medications.

While medication can relieve acid reflux for a time, lifestyle changes that reduce heartburn could also prevent heart disease or heart attack. They include maintaining a healthy weight, eating smaller meals, and not smoking. Heartburn sufferers can also avoid the foods and drinks that trigger acid reflux and avoid lying down after a meal.

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Heartburn can mimic the effects of a heart attack when pain and discomfort occur in the upper chest and throat as a result of acidic contents flowing up from the esophagus, known as acid reflux.
heart attack, heartburn, acid reflux, drugs, side effects
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2016-18-28
Thursday, 28 Jul 2016 06:18 PM
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