Health data from six million people was tracked for about six years (until 2013 or death, whichever came first). It was found that, when compared to participants who used H2 blockers (another class of heartburn medications), those who took PPIs experienced a 25 per cent increased risk of early death. This risk grew the longer the PPIs were taken.

These drugs have previously been linked to higher rates of chronic kidney disease, dementia, C difficile infections and bone fractures in people affected by brittle bone disease, the Huffington Post reports.

“Although our results should not deter prescription and use of PPIs where medically indicated,” researchers write, “they may be used to encourage and promote pharmacovigilance [monitoring the side-effects of licensed drugs] and [they] emphasise the need to exercise judicious use of PPIs and limit use and duration of therapy to instances where there is a clear medical indication and where benefit outweighs potential risk.”

If you have any concerns about these new findings, speak to your GP about alternatives.

Article created in partnership with Over60