Over the last several decades, acid-suppressing drugs have become extremely popular. Medicines like Tagamet, Pepcid, Prilosec and Nexium 24HR are available over the counter, and many people use them frequently to treat heartburn.
When OTC Drugs Pose a Risk to the Fetus:
A new study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reveals a possible downside to such medications, however. When pregnant women take such drugs to treat heartburn, their infants appear to be more prone to developing asthma.
The meta-analysis of eight studies including more than a million and a half people showed that babies exposed in utero to drugs like cimetidine (Tagamet) or ranitidine (Zantac) have a 46 percent higher risk of asthma. Exposure in the womb to PPI drugs such as esomeprazole (Nexium) or omeprazole (Prilosec) was associated with a 30 percent higher risk of asthma in the infants.
The Link Is Puzzling:
Scientists do not know why there may be a connection, and readers should not draw cause-and-effect conclusions. Pregnant women often suffer acid reflux, but they may want to be cautious about how they treat heartburn.
Expectant mothers who would like to treat their symptoms of reflux without medications might be interested in home remedies. We discuss several food-based options in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. Although the effectiveness of nibbling almonds after dinner has not been studied, food-based remedies are unlikely to cause problems.