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Acid reflux drug linked to 33% higher risk of dementia

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A drug used to treat a common health condition may increase the risk of dementia by a third, experts have warned.New research has found that people who take proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, for four and a half years or more, were 33 per cent more likely to develop the debilitating condition.The drugs are used to treat acid reflux which is when stomach acid flows into the oesophagus, and usually occurs after eating or when lying down.Acid reflux can spark heartburn and ulcers, and those who suffer from symptoms may develop gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GORD, which can lead to a cancer of the oesophagus, The Daily Express reports.GORD affects up to 40 per cent of the UK population.

PPIs are used to reduce stomach acid by targeting enzymes in the stomach lining that produce it.But the medication has been previously linked to higher risk of stroke, broken bones and kidney disease.

The American research team, whose findings were published in the journal Neurology, say the study does not prove that acid reflux drugs cause dementia; it only shows an association.Study author Professor Kamakshi Lakshminarayan said: “Proton pump inhibitors are a useful tool to help control acid reflux, however long-term use has been linked in previous studies to a higher risk of stroke, bone fractures and chronic kidney disease.

Still, some people take these drugs regularly, so we examined if they are linked to a higher risk of dementia."While we did not find a link with short-term use, we did find a higher risk of dementia associated with long-term use of these drugs.”A major study included more than 5,700 people, aged 45 and older, who did not have dementia at the start of the research.

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