Over-the-counter prescription acid reflux drugs consumed by millions Increase the risk of stomach cancer more than eight times if Ingested regularly

Individuals who utilize proton pump inhibitors are twice likely to develop stomach cancer

Risk of cancer heightens the more the drugs are consumed, scientists claim.

 the pills create gastrin which leads to the growth of cancerous cell.

Scientists are of the opinion that people who constantly use proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – common drugs used to treat acid reflux – are twice as likely to develop cancer.

And if individuals  Ingested the drugs on a long-term, the risk Increased up-to five-fold after a year to more than eight-fold after three years of constantly taking the pills.

The scientists, from the  University College London and the University of Hong Kong, are of the opinion that the pills stimulate a hormone called gastrin, which triggers the growth of cancerous cells.

Over five million bottles and packets of PPIs – which include omeprazole and lansoprazole – are prescribed each year in England to treat gastroesophageal reflux, a harsh form of heartburn. So many Britons buy them over the counter at pharmacies without a prescription, or in corner shops and supermarkets.

The drugs are not Prescribed for long-term consumption, but doctors are scared that because they are so easily available, Folks may ingest them without medical supervision for years.

Fears are manifesting about the possible health implications of this drugs if taken for too long. Recent research ties it continual use to dementia, heart attacks, and kidney problems. The new findings, published in the BMJ journal Gut, involved 63,000 people in Hong Kong. At the start of the study, they were treated with antibiotics to kill bacteria called H. pylori, which is tied to stomach cancer.

The researchers did this to cancel out the chance of bacteria in the development of cancer, ascertaining that the PPI drugs were to blame.




The patients were then watched for an average of seven years.

Researchers discovered that those who ingested the tablets at least weekly were more than twice as likely to develop stomach cancer during the study period compared to those who did not Ingest the drugs.

For daily users, the risk multiplied 4.5 times, and the more individuals used the drugs, the risk increased, rising to an 8.3-fold greater risk for those who took the pills daily for a minimum of three years.

The researchers emphasized that while the relative risks are dramatic,  a few number of individuals get stomach cancer – also known as gastric cancer – so in absolute terms, the threat is small. Out of the 63,397 people studied, only 153 (0.24 percent) developed stomach cancer.

The researchers predicted that this means that for every 10,000 individuals who took PPIs, roughly about eight people a year will develop stomach cancer – four more than if none was taking the pills.

They wrote: 'We found that long-term use of PPIs increased the risk of gastric cancer development. There was a clear dose-response and time-response trend of PPIs uses and gastric cancer risk. Physicians should exercise caution when prescribing long-term PPIs.'

There was a clear dose-response and time-response pattern of PPIs uses and gastric cancer risk




A spokesperson for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, in charge of drug safety in Britain, said: 'PPIs available without prescription are only meant short-term use and at a low dose. Patient safety is very important to us and we keep all emerging evidence under review.'

However, Professor Stephen Evans, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, debunks the findings, saying that Individuals who take PPIs are prone to illness in the first place. He added: 'The absolute risk is small. All effective drugs have unwanted side effects, usually adverse, so there is a probability  that PPIs have gastric cancer as one of those unwanted effects, and this paper offers some evidence to support such claim, but there is no evidence to prove a causal effect.'

The Proprietary Association of Great Britain, which represents manufacturers of over-the-counter medicine, said a person could take PPIs for more than two weeks without consulting a pharmacist.

Chief executive John Smith said: 'The study only focused on the prescription use of PPIs, which is usually higher In doses and for longer durations. Long-term PPI users are also older than non-users, and age was shown to be an important risk factor in the formation of gastric cancer.

'PPIs available over the counter are meant for short-term use only and it is the best way to manage symptoms.



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