Can pantoprazole cause dementia

Dementia: suspected acid blockers

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Acid blockers are bestsellers worldwide. In the case of severe heartburn or stomach ulcers, the so-called proton pump inhibitors reduce gastric acid production and thus effectively alleviate the symptoms. However, their long-term use appears to be associated with significant risks. Now it turns out that they may even promote dementia.

For example, seniors who took proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole and pantoprazole for a long time in a study were 44 percent more likely to develop dementia than subjects who had not received acid blockers. And that within a short observation period of just 18 months. This is what researchers led by Britta Hänisch from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn found out on the basis of data from almost 73,000 seniors over 75 years of age.

However, it is still unclear whether the drugs or an unknown common factor actually increased the risk of dementia: "Avoiding proton pump inhibitors may prevent the development of dementia," the authors conclude. The current study could only establish a statistical connection between the use of proton pump inhibitors and the risk of dementia. For other risks of proton pump inhibitors, the cause and side effect are better documented.

Deficiency symptoms & osteoporosis

Deficiency symptoms are one example. The stomach is usually extremely acidic. The stomach acid, which contains hydrochloric acid, contains digestive enzymes that break down proteins. But if it spills into the esophagus or eats its way into a previously damaged stomach wall, there is a risk of serious illnesses including cancer. Proton pump inhibitors protect against this. They dampen the activity of the parietal cells that produce gastric acid, causing the acid level in the stomach to drop considerably and certain components of food to be digested only incompletely.

The consequences are, for example, a magnesium and vitamin B12 deficiency, which can manifest itself in impaired concentration, symptoms of paralysis and anemia. Normally, the acidic gastric juice supports the absorption of calcium. If this process is disturbed, osteoporosis and bone fractures are more likely to occur.

In addition, studies indicate that proton pump inhibitors also increase the risk of heart attack and the risk of liver and kidney damage. In addition, they promote the occurrence of intestinal and lung infections, since fewer bacteria in the food pulp are killed due to the lower pH value.

Carefree regulation

It is all the more worrying that the medication is also carelessly prescribed for ailments for which they are not intended - for example for diffuse upper abdominal complaints. In addition, they are often prescribed in unnecessarily high doses and for too long - instead of being gradually withdrawn. Since they are also cleverly marketed by the manufacturers as "stomach protection" and are well tolerated in the short term, they are extremely popular with patients. (cf)


Association of Proton Pump Inhibitors With Risk of DementiaA Pharmacoepidemiological Claims JAMA Neurol. Published online February 15, 2016. doi: 10.1001 / jamaneurol.2015.4791 Medicine letter; 2008, 42, 49

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