Acid suppressing drugs are linked to pneumonia. Proton Pump Inhibitors or PPIs for short are among the most popular pills in the pharmacy. These are drugs like Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix and Nexium. They are extremely effective at preventing acid formation and easing symptoms of heartburn. But there has been growing concern that such medications may be so effective that they allow bacteria to grow in the stomach. Normally, stomach acid prevents such bacterial growth. If these germs flourish and migrate to the lungs pneumonia may result.
A new study confirms earlier suspicions of a connection. Researchers reviewed records from over 60,000 patients. More than half had received acid suppressing medication. Those who took PPIs were significantly more likely to develop pneumonia while in the hospital than those who were not given these potent heartburn drugs. The new research suggests that routine use of PPIs may be putting patients at unnecessary risk.
[JAMA May 27, 2009]