(EMBARGO at 22:00) Prolonged intake of proton pump inhibitors, one of the most common types of gastroprotective drugs, could increase the risk of developing dementia over time. This is what a study coordinated by researchers at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and published in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, suggests. The researchers caution, however, that the study does not prove that this class of drugs causes dementia.
Proton pump inhibitors are very popular drugs.
“Long-term use has been linked in previous studies to a higher risk of stroke, bone fracture and chronic kidney disease,” study co-author Kamakshi Lakshminarayan said in a statement. The new study wanted to understand if they are also linked to a higher risk of dementia.
The research involved nearly 6,000 people with an average age of 75. After 5.5 years, about 10% had developed a form of dementia. Among those who had taken gastroprotective drugs for more than 4.4 years, the risk of cognitive problems was about 30% higher than in people who had never taken the drugs. The phenomenon was not observed in those who had taken pump inhibitors for short periods.
The researchers are very cautious: the type of study does not allow to demonstrate a cause-effect relationship between the intake of proton pump inhibitors and dementia. Furthermore, the numbers are very small and only 58 of those who had taken the drugs for long periods became ill. “More research is needed to confirm our findings and explore the reasons for the possible link between long-term use of proton pump inhibitors and a higher risk of dementia,” said Lakshminarayan.
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