DOUBLE your risk of stomach cancer with acid reflux drugs, study claims

A new study claims that you could double your risk of developing stomach cancer by mindlessly taking acid reflux drugs.

The report stated that proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) greatly increase a person’s risk of having gastrointestinal tumors. Some of the known PPIs are Prilosec, Prevacid, and Protonix.

The study showed data from 63,397 individually-monitored adults who either used PPIs to treat their acid reflux or took H2 blockers (histamine H2 receptor antagonists). The participants were studied under the following conditions:

  • Until their death;
  • Until they developed stomach cancer; or
  • Until the study reached its end period (December 2015).

The findings revealed that 3,271 participants took PPIs for three years during the study – which spanned seven-a-half years – and 21,729 took H2 blockers to relieve their acid reflux.

The researchers claim that H2 blockers were safer for acid reflux treatment than PPIs, which significantly increased cancer risks.

The study noted: “The longer PPIs were used, the greater was the risk of developing stomach cancer, rising to five-fold after more than a year, to more than six-fold after two or more years, and to more than eight-fold after three or more years.”

The researchers from the University of Hong Kong and University College London School of Pharmacy suspect that the pills stimulate a hormone called gastrin, which triggers the growth of cancerous cells.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 28,000 cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, killing about 10,960 people.

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In England, more than five million bottles and packets of PPIs (Omeprazole and Lansoprazole, among others) are available over the counter without prescription, which are sold at pharmacies, corner shops, and supermarkets.

Doctors fear that people may be taking these drugs continuously without medical supervision, as they are so readily available. The research suggests that doctors must impose stricter limits on the amount and duration of PPI prescription. (Related: Heartburn sufferers shouldn’t be too quick to reach for the antacids; heartburn medications do more harm than good.)

Managing acid reflux

Acid reflux is a condition wherein food and stomach acids mix and rise back up your esophagus, creating a burning sensation in your chest. It can be painful and may progress to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition that induces frequent acid reflux. If you’re experiencing acid reflux from time to time, a few simple lifestyle adjustments will do wonders to ease the symptoms. shares some home remedies for managing acid reflux:

  • Healthy weight – Overweight people are more prone to experiencing acid reflux, because the excess weight can put pressure on the abdominal area, which can push stomach contents up your esophagus more easily. A combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Foods to avoid – Regardless of weight, certain foods can induce acid reflux, such as greasy foods like fast food, fried foods, citrus fruit juices, alcohol, soda, caffeine and tomato sauce or tomato-based foods.
  • Potential natural remedies – Herbs, peppermint, enzymes, and fruit such as pineapple and papaya can naturally reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. Some of these herbs include chamomile, licorice, marshmallow, and slippery elm. Note that there are not many conventional studies on natural remedies for GERD. Buy your herbs and enzymes from a reputable source.

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