Drugs Linked to Pneumonia:
Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, and More
Heartburn drugs of
all types are hugely popular. From Alka Seltzer to Zantac, heartburn
drugs come in chewables, liquids, and pills, most of which are designed
to neutralize or reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. Just
like any other medications, though, heartburn drugs have side effects.
For example, a recent study shows just about all heartburn drugs
are linked to pneumonia, including Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec.
The link between
heartburn drugs and pneumonia is likely due to the reduction of
stomach acid caused by these drugs. In many ways, stomach acid is
viewed as bad since it causes heartburn, acid
reflux symptoms, and other painful conditions. But stomach acid
is also necessary for survival. In addition to digesting food, stomach
acid provides a first defense against viruses, bacteria, and other
harmful organisms entering your body through your mouth. Therefore,
heartburn drugs may be linked to pneumonia because, by reducing
stomach acid, you also are reducing your body’s defense against
the germs causing pneumonia.
The risk of heartburn
drugs being linked to pneumonia is very small, about one extra case
of pneumonia per year for every 100 people taking acid-suppressing
drugs, according to a study from the Netherlands. The study found
that the link between heartburn drugs and pneumonia seems to be
most noticeable in proton pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prevacid,
and Prilosec, but other studies have suggested that any acid reducing
or acid reflux medication
could possibly affect the body’s ability to fight pneumonia.
If you are
taking heartburn drugs you should remain aware of the symptoms of
pneumonia, especially if your immunity to illness is weakened. Pneumonia
usually comes with a high fever, chest pain, phlegm-producing cough,
and shortness of breath. The elderly and other fragile patients
seem to be at greater risk for pneumonia.