A recent Time magazine article reported that, according to a study published by The American Journal of Gastroenterology, the risk of contracting COVID-19 increases for those taking proton pump inhibitor (PPI) heartburn medications. For the study, doctors conducted an online survey of about 86,000 people. Approximately 62% of those interviewed said they experienced abdominal pain, acid reflux, or heartburn, and more than 6% of those individuals tested positive for COVID-19.
After analyzing the data, the survey’s researchers found that survey participants taking PPI medications had two to four times the risk of testing positive for COVID-19 over those who did not use these drugs. Though alarming, this did not necessarily come as a surprise. Several studies in the past have found that individuals using PPIs can be at a higher risk of contracting particular infections, including pneumonia and C.difficile, which is usually contracted by hospital patients who have been on antibiotics.
Both PPIs and another group of heartburn drugs known as H2 blockers work by reducing the user’s amount of stomach acid, which is a method the body uses to kill potentially harmful viruses and bacteria. PPI drugs like Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid block pumps that release acid into the stomach, while H2 blockers such as Zantac and Pepcid block the receptors that stimulate acid production.
Though the report showed that people taking PPIs develop an increased chance of COVID-19 infection, the total risk is relatively little. It is advised that you contact your doctor if you are currently taking a PPI to see if changing your routine would make sense.
The study did not show users of H2 blockers to have the same elevated risk of infection. However, it is important to note that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially requested a recall of all Zantac (ranitidine) products in April 2020, after a study found unacceptably high levels of a cancer-causing agent. Lawsuits are being filed across the country against Zantac manufacturers by cancer patients stating the drug led to their diagnosis.
Kwartler Manus can Help!
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with cancer after regular use of ranitidine products, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Contact our experienced legal team at Kwartler Manus, LLC online or by phone (267) 214-8608 today for a consultation.