Be warned: Older adults who take PPIs have a 44% increased risk of developing dementia
11/27/2018 // Vicki Batts // Views

Millions of Americans are coping with gastroesophageal reflux disease, and proton pump inhibitors are one of the most popular drugs for treating it. In years past, some 15 million people in the United States were taking a prescription proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to treat their gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The drugs work by reducing the amount of acid produced by the stomach. But the safety of these drugs is now being called into question, as a growing body of research now shows that PPIs can dramatically increase your risk of developing dementia.

Now that over-the-counter PPIs are available in pharmacies without prescriptions, many people are taking these drugs without the supervision of a physician. Indeed, the risks of many medications -- even aspirin -- are under-reported, if they even get acknowledged at all. Between the pharmaceutical industry's stranglehold on medicine as we know it, and rampant corruption and greed, it is no surprise that many harmful drugs have saturated the marketplace.

Study shows PPIs increase dementia risk

Published in the journal JAMA Neurology, research from 2016 found that PPI use dramatically increases the risk of dementia in older adults. The German research team studied the effects of PPIs in adults aged 75 years or older. Corresponding author Britta Haenisch, from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn, Germany, commented on the team's results.

"To evaluate cause-and-effect relationships between long-term PPI use and possible effects on cognition in the elderly, randomized, prospective clinical trials are needed," Haenisch stated.


"Clinicians should follow guidelines for PPI prescription, to avoid overprescribing PPIs and inappropriate use," the researcher added. Some experts have posited that nearly  70 percent of PPI prescriptions are unnecessary.

Overall, the German research team found that older adults taking PPIs were at a markedly higher risk of developing dementia than seniors who did not take the drugs. Senior citizens on a PPI were 44 percent more likely to receive a dementia diagnosis than their peers. While this study has only proven an association,  it should certainly give patients and doctors pause before doling out new prescriptions.

Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer's Association, argues that diet and body weight can both influence the risk of dementia, as well as the need for a PPI -- factors that were not controlled for in this preliminary study.

However, this "argument" highlights the fact that perhaps doctors should suggest patients work on improving their diet and health status before dispensing prescription medications like candy.

Are prescription drugs ever worth the cost?

Big Pharma is making it big on PPI drugs. Experts say that PPI sales are in excess of $10 billion annually, which means the pharma industry is cashing in by selling their drugs -- often for off-label purposes. Mitchell H. Katz, M.D., of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, has called out the pharma and medical industries for gross over-prescription of PPI drugs. Dr. Katz contends that between 53 and 69 percent of PPI prescriptions are unwarranted, noting that these drugs are often used to treat ordinary indigestion (dyspepsia),  even when ulcers or severe GERD are not present.

Dr. Kats questions: "That proton pump inhibitors relieve dyspepsia is without question, but at what cost (and I do not mean financial)?" PPI medications have been linked to a bevvy of other side effects beyond dementia.

As Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, contends, the finding that PPIs are associated with an increased risk of dementia is " just the latest example of scientific research revealing the extreme health risks of common medications, including statin drugs, antidepressants and even chemotherapy, which has been found to spread cancer across the body."

Learn more about the risks of pharmaceuticals at

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