According to a recent medical study, common drugs that are taken in order to relieve the symptoms of heartburn can have increase the risk of heart attack.
The research revealed that a common medicine more than 100 million people take for heartburn was associated with a higher risk of developing heart attacks.
The new study, conducted by a team of researchers from Stanford University, did not show a cause-and-effect link between heartburn medicine and heart attack.
The scientists said further research is needed in order to be able to come to a conclusion. They claimed they need a more advanced technology, like pharmacovigilance algorithms to determine the risks of heart burn medicine and how it can increase the risk of heart attacks among those who take them.
However, the correlation between this type of drugs, knows as proton pump inhibitors, and heart attacks was very strong.
Scientists say that patients need to consider the risks and benefits before taking heartburn medicine.
Nicholas Leeper, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford and one of the lead authors of the study, explained that people should not take these drugs before talking to their doctors.
According to professor Leeper, the risk of heart attack extends to others outside the groups that are considered of high risk.
The study showed that young people as well as the elderly have an increased risk of heart attack if they take the heartburn drugs.
The researchers said that one of the main concerns is that these types of drugs can be easily obtained because they are sold over the counter.
If an individual takes this medicine on a regular basis for 2 weeks without notifying their doctor, it could be very risky.
According to the authors of the study, proton pump inhibitors like Pevacid, Prilosec and Nexium are the most commonly used heartburn drugs.
The study revealed that more than 100 million prescriptions are written for these drugs around the world.
In the Unites States, more than 21 million individuals have used one or more of these drugs with a prescription in 2009.
Along with the drugs that are sold over the counter, the worldwide sales are approximately $13 billion every year.
The new study suggests that proton pump inhibitors can reduce the production of nitric oxide from cells that line in the circulatory system.
Scientists say that a lower level of nitric oxide has been linked to various cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack.
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