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Heartburn Medicine Linked to Gastric or Stomach Cancer

By Michael London on September 14, 2018


What Are Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI)?

The gist is that PPI is a heartburn medication which aims to lower the amount of acid in the stomach to avoid heartburn. PPIs block certain enzymes in the stomach from producing acid. By inhibiting the production of these stomach acid enzymes, the drugs allow ulcers and irritations to heal unhindered. PPI drugs are most commonly recognized by the following names:

  • Prilosec
  • Nexium
  • Prevacid
  • AcipHex
  • Dexilant
  • Kapidex
  • Protonix
  • Zegerid

 

Who Is Taking PPI?

The short answer: an estimated 15 million Americans. PPIs are typically prescribed by doctors for conditions such as stomach and small intestine ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), inflammation of the esophagus peptic ulcer disease, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced gastropathy and the rare Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.  They are also over-the-counter.

PPI Stomach Cancer: Research and Studies

PPI is used to treat H. pylori, a bacterial infection that causes reflux-like symptoms. Researchers from Hong Kong studied 63,397 people who had been treated for stomach infection with H. pylori bacteria and even after the bacteria had been killed, those who took PPIs on a long-term basis were more likely to be diagnosed with stomach cancer in the following 7 to 8 years of follow-up.

This study done by University College of London and the University of Hong Kong found that PPI use is linked to more than a doubling rate for stomach cancer. The patients were monitored on average for 7.5 years until they either developed stomach cancer, died or the study concluded, which was at the end of December 2015. During this time, 3,271 (5%) people took PPIs for an average of nearly three years; and 21,729 took H2 blockers. Taking PPIs was associated with a more than doubling (2.44) in the risk of developing stomach cancer while taking H2 blockers was not associated with a heightened risk. 

More frequent use was associated with greater risk, with daily use linked to a more than quadrupling in risk (4.55) compared with weekly use.

The longer PPIs were used, the greater was the risk of developing stomach cancer, rising to 5-fold after more than a year, to more than 6-fold after two or more years, and to more than 8-fold after three or more years.

These numbers were also reported by Harvard Medical School and the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) which is a part of the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

How We Can Help

For years, Douglas & London have been fighting for those who are victims of negligence and we have recovered over $875 million over that time fighting for our clients.    

Douglas & London has a history of representing people who have suffered from cancer.  Firm partner Stephanie O'Connor, who is also working on PPI, served on the trial team for the first and only Actos federal court trial. In that trial, she greatly assisted the efforts in obtaining a $9 billion verdict for the plaintiff, which resulted in a $2.4 billion settlement for all plaintiffs shortly thereafter.  Ms. O'Connor was also part of the Court-appointed Executive Committee and court-appointed Science Chairperson.    

Those who have been diagnosed with stomach cancer who used to take PPI may be eligible for compensation. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with stomach cancer as a result of PPI, please feel free to contact 24/7 us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

 

Disclaimer: We are not doctors and do not give medical advice.

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