Heartburn Drugs May Increase Risk of Depression

New Study Suggests Heartburn Drugs May Trigger Depression

Heartburn and stomach acid medication has been dealt another serious blow this month by a new study in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. The studies suggests that there may be a linked between the most commonly prescribed class of stomach drugs, proton pump inhibitors, and depression. The findings come on the heels of recent studies which suggested that proton pump inhibitors may cause kidney disease in certain patients.

According to the journal article, common stomach drugs interfere with the so-called "gut-brain axis," which may in turn trigger negative emotions like depression. The findings are based on experiments involving rats, a close biological relative of humans, in which the rats were deprived of beneficial gut bacteria similar to what happens when humans are prescribed a course of proton pump inhibitors. The rats then experienced unusually high incidences of anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairment.

Heartburn Drugs May Interfere with "Gut-Brain Axis"

If you're wondering how this works, the mechanism is still rather mysterious. But recent research has indicated a very close and complex relationship between gut bacteria and hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain. In other words, our gut sends signals to our brain, triggering emotion responses. When certain beneficial bacteria are damaged or eradicated due to medical intervention, it can throw off communication between the gut and the brain, and imbalance us psychologically.

The study in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics appears to be the first of its kind to suggest that proton pump inhibitors, one of the most commonly prescribed drug classes in existence - may increase the risk of major depression and other psychological disorders.

Now, an observational study suggests that proton pump inhibitors — which are a class of drugs typically prescribed to treat acid-related stomach conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease — increase the risk of developing major depressive disorder.

As previously mentioned, overprescription of stomach acid and reflux medications have also recently been linked to kidney disease in certain patients.

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