Heartburn Drugs Linked to Esophageal Cancer

Heartburn medications designed to prevent symptoms may actually lead to the development of esophageal cancer, researchers have found. The drugs, known as proton pump inhibitors, include popular prescriptions like Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid.

Scientists examined the medical records of more than 700,000 people taking proton pump inhibitors. When compared with the general population, those taking the drugs were more likely to develop esophageal cancer.

Limitations of the Study

Of course, correlation does not equate causality, and critics of the study are quick to point out the limits of the research. The study does not factor in factors like smoking, drinking or obesity, which can all play a role in the development of esophageal cancer. Still, this is not the first time researchers have linked proton pump inhibitors to esophageal cancer.

A University of Pittsburgh study in 2011 found that long-term users of the drugs were at a significantly increased risk of developing cancer. Another study found the medications doubled the odds of a person developing stomach cancer.

A Word of Caution

While these results are worrisome, no one taking proton pump inhibitors should stop taking their medication without talking to their doctor first. Anyone concerned about the possible health consequences of the drugs should be sure to consult with their physician before halting the use of the prescription. Failure to do so could result in serious health risks and complications.

If you or someone you know has developed esophageal cancer after using proton pump inhibitors, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our team for a confidential consultation as soon as possible.