Many Americans rely on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to manage heartburn and acid reflux. However, recent research has linked these drugs to increased risks of kidney failure, stroke, premature death, and possibly dementia. A study published in the Neurology journal suggests that individuals aged 45 and above who have used PPIs for more than four years have a 33% higher risk of developing dementia compared to non-users.

The study, which observed over 5,700 participants aged 45 to 64 without dementia at the start, highlights the potential connection between prolonged PPI use and dementia risk. PPIs reduce stomach acid and are commonly used to address acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Although available over the counter, they are associated with health concerns. While the study doesn’t definitively prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship, it underscores the importance of further investigation. The research found that participants using PPIs for more than 4.4 years had a significantly elevated risk of dementia. Despite the study’s limitations, such as its reliance on once-a-year medication reporting, it suggests that those using PPIs long-term should consider discussing alternatives with a doctor. Options like antacids, H2 blockers, dietary adjustments, and weight loss might provide viable solutions. The study underscores the need for caution and consultation when using PPIs for an extended period.