Can antacids boost allergy risk?

Science | AAAS | 7/30/2019 | Staff
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Can antacids boost allergy risk?

People prescribed antacids are roughly twice as likely to later be offered drugs for respiratory allergies, such as hay fever or asthma, a new study finds. The research doesn’t prove that taking antacids causes allergies, but it adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting a connection between the two.

House - Phenomenon - Evidence - Disease - Edward

“I would not bet my house that this is a true phenomenon, but there is ample evidence” that it is, says infectious disease physician Edward Mitre of the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland. Mitre was not part of this study, but he published research last year reporting a similar pattern in infants prescribed antacids.

Antacids, such as Nexium and Prilosec, work by decreasing acid production in the stomach. They’re often used for gastrointestinal reflux, which occurs when acid flows upward into the esophagus from the stomach and causes the uncomfortable sensation known as heartburn.

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Antacids - Risk - Years - Experts - Overuse

Antacids are typically considered low risk. But in recent years, some experts have worried about overuse. There are also indications that the drugs may alter immune function and heighten the chance of certain bacterial infections, perhaps because they change the balance of bacteria in the gut. This shift may compromise the immune system’s ability to react to invaders, making it easier for certain foreign bacteria to get a foothold in the body.

More than a decade ago, Erika Jensen-Jarolim began to wonder whether antacids could also spark allergies. A friend had shared unexpected news: He had abruptly developed a rare allergy to beluga caviar. Jensen-Jarolim, a clinical immunologist and allergy researcher at the Medical University of Vienna, then learned that her friend also took proton-pump inhibitors and sucralfate, both popular classes of antacids. Because the medicines blunt stomach acid production, food...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Science | AAAS
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