Study Finds PPIs Significantly Increase C. Diff RiskJul 11, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP
Proton pump inhibitor drugs (PPIs) significantly increase the risk of a person developing Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD), according to a new study.
Researchers at Harper University Hospital in Michigan and University of Utah School of Medicine discovered that people taking PPI drugs like Aciphex, Nexium, Omeprazole, Prevacid, Prilosec, and Protonix, are two-thirds more likely to develop CDAD than those not taking any of these drugs. PPI drugs are among the most commonly prescribed and taken drugs in the U.S. They are dispensed in prescription and over-the-counter strengths.
For their research, according to a report from UK’s Pulse Today, the authors of the study analyzed data from 23 previously completed studies on the link between CDAD and PPI drugs. All patients included in the studies were hospitalized at some point and had taken PPI drugs for at least three months. Even when certain factors were excluded, the increased risk of developing the serious condition still stood near 65 percent.
PPI drugs are often prescribed to treat or prevent stomach ulcers. They are also prescribed in the treatment of heartburn and for conditions such as Crohn’s disease. While they have proven effective when taken for shorter periods of time, the risk of side effects increases the longer they are taken by a patient. In addition to risks of bone fractures, recent studies have linked the use of the drugs to an increased risk of CDAD.
CDAD is marked by diarrhea which doesn’t improve. It is often contracted during a hospital stay. CDAD can worsen and cause dehydration and intestinal disorders.
Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning on the risk of CDAD associated with taking PPI drugs. In February, regulators reminded physicians and the public that PPI drugs should only be taken in the smallest dose that proves effective and relying on the drugs rather than changing habits or diets that creates the condition the drugs are being used to treat will only work to increase the risk of this and other side effects associated with them.
Echoing the FDA’s warning, this new analysis of previously-published studies called for new guidelines when prescribing PPI drugs, or taking them in over-the-counter strengths. The UK report cites the study, with authors saying, “We recommend that the routine use of PPIs for gastric ulcer prophylaxis should be more prudent.”