According to a new study published in Cancer Epidemiology, researchers have indicated that taking popular heartburn drugs such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid may increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
Heartburn Drugs or Proton Pump Inhibitors and Long-Term Use
Part of a class of drugs known as "proton pump inhibitors" or PPIs, the heartburn drugs that have found their way into the daily lives of more and more Americans over the years have recently been the focus of much study, debate, and concern. Never designed for long-term use, over the years patients have become accustomed to taking proton pump inhibitors regularly to combat acid-reflux and other unpleasant conditions. Health care providers have similarly seen nothing wrong with prescribing Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, and other heartburn drugs for long-term and sometimes indefinite use by patients.
Misapplication and Overprescription of Heartburn Drugs Causes Increasing Concern for Public Health
A recent surge in the study of the effects of this misapplication and over-prescription of heartburn medication has alerted the public to the potential damage they face if they make taking PPIs a habit. The latest study, linking increased risk of cancer of the throat to the use of proton pump inhibitors, only further raises concern about their widespread use.
The study, conducted in Sweden, was the largest ever to focus on PPI use and esophageal cancer, found that the drugs may be responsible for more than 5 percent of such cases in Sweden.