Patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) rely on chronic antiplatelet therapy to mitigate the risks associated with their disease. These therapies often include aspirin and Plavix® (clopidogrel), both of which are notorious for causing gastrointestinal complications. Aspirin puts patients at risk for gastrointestinal ulcers and hemorrhages. Plavix may slow the healing of aspirin-related gastric damage.
As a result, many CAD patients and their doctors often turn to proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to treat the gastrointestinal side effects of chronic antiplatelet therapies. However, a new study published in the peer-reviewed, open-access journal PLOS One links PPI use to an increased risk of heart failure and death in CAD patients. This has led many of them to question the safety of using PPIs to control the acid-related side effects of chronic antiplatelet therapy.
CAD Patients Face Increased Risks
For the study, researchers followed 706 patients with CAD, 431 of whom were taking Prilosec® (omeprazole), the leading drug in the PPI class of medications. More than 90 percent of the patients who participated in the study were taking aspirin, while two-thirds were taking Plavix (these treatments can be used in tandem).
The study revealed shocking results. PPI use emerged as an independent indicator of an increased risk of heart failure and death in patients with CAD. These findings lend support to previous studies, which suggested that PPI medications could reduce the efficacy of aspirin and chronic antiplatelet treatments, leading to an increase in cardiovascular events in CAD patients.
However, while PPIs were linked greater risks of heart failure and death, they were not associated with an increased risk of acute ischemic events, such as stroke.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first PPI medication, Prilosec, in 1989 for the treatment of peptic-acid disorders, including chronic persistent heartburn; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced gastropathy; gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); and peptic ulcer disease (PUD). Medications in this class block the gastric proton pump enzyme that produces the acids that cause these and other gastrointestinal maladies.
Unlike other acid-relieving medications like Tums or H2 blockers such as Zantac® (ranitidine), Tagamet® (cimetidine), and Pepcid® (famotidine), PPIs reduce stomach acid and relieve related conditions over time, rather than working to immediate alleviate heartburn and other gastric acid problems.
There are a number of PPIs available in the United States, including:
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Nexium® (esomeprazole)
- Prevacid® (lansoprazole)
- Aciphex® (rabeprazole)
- Dexilent® (dexlansoprazole)
- Protonix® (pantoprazole)
- Yosprala® (omeprazole and aspirin)
- Vimovo® (esomeprazole magnesium and naproxen)
- Zegerid® (omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate)
PPIs Also Linked to Dementia and Kidney Disease
Using PPIs to control heartburn doesn't just carry risks for patients with CAD. Numerous studies link long-term PPI use to a variety of concerning side effects and complications, including:
Osteoporosis-related wrist, hip, and spine fractures
- Low magnesium levels
- Heart attacks
- Cardiovascular disease
- B12 deficiency
- Chronic kidney disease and kidney failure
However, PPI manufacturers, doctors, and the FDA insist that PPIs are safe when used as directed as a short-term treatment. The FDA recommends that patients limit PPI use to no more than three 14-day dosage cycles in a single year. Unfortunately, many patients and doctors fail to heed the FDA's warning and, as a result, some patients take PPIs on a continuous basis, unwittingly exposing themselves to serious health risks.
Did You Experience Dangerous PPI Complications?
Patients trust their doctors to prescribe medications that are both safe and effective. While PPIs have proven efficacy in controlling gastric-acid disorders, they're also linked to concerning side effects and complications, particularly for patients with CAD.
If you've experienced serious PPI-related side effects, or lost a loved one with CAD to PPI-related cardiovascular complications, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the drug's manufacturer to seek compensation for damages. McGartland Law can be there for you every step of the way. Contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case.