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Increased risk of allergies from stomach protection drugs
Gastric acid blockers are among the most commonly taken medications in Germany. A new study has now shown that the medicines for stomach protection can trigger allergies. Health experts advise against taking the preparations for a longer period.
Stomach protection products are among the most commonly taken medications
Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) and other gastric acid blockers are among the most commonly taken drugs in Germany, reports the German Society for Gastroenterology, Digestive and Metabolic Diseases (DGVS) in a message. It has long been known that these drugs can have undesirable side effects and, among other things, promote a vitamin B12 deficiency. A new study has now shown that such drugs can also lead to allergies.
Production of stomach acid is reduced
Gastric acid blockers reduce the production of stomach acid, relieve heartburn and support the healing of damaged gastric mucosa, explains the Medical University (MedUni) Vienna in a message.
Such preparations are often prescribed to support medication therapies, to prevent stomach ulcers or to relieve bloating.
Even with stress reactions that lead to reflux (heartburn), they are often the method of choice.
In 2013, at least one pack of a PPI (proton pump inhibitor) was prescribed to 1,540,505 people in Austria at the till cost.
According to the DGVS, the number of prescriptions in Germany in 2015 was around 3.7 billion defined daily doses (DDD, daily defined dose).
A nationwide study by MedUni Vienna has now confirmed a connection between the intake of gastric acid blockers and the subsequent prescription of anti-allergic medications.
The study results were published in the specialist journal "Nature Communications".
As part of the study, researchers from 2009 to 2013 analyzed prescriptions for allergy medications (antihistamines, allergen immunotherapy) to people who had previously received prescriptions for gastric savers.
The data for this scientific investigation was provided by all health insurance providers in Austria.
According to the first author Galateja Jordakieva, the connection was clear: "Those who take stomach-protecting agents such as proton pump inhibitors increase their risk of allergic symptoms requiring treatment by two to three times"
Stomach acid plays an important role
As explained in the message, gastric acid plays an important role in the digestive tract.
The acid-dependent enzymes it contains break down proteins of the food and lead them to further use.
It also serves as a barrier against bacteria and other pathogens. If these functions are now reduced due to the blocked gastric acid production, allergens can penetrate the intestine unprocessed.
This can trigger allergies and aggravate the symptoms in people who already have existing allergies.
A warning is given against long-term use
"The so-called 'gastric pads' should not be used longer than necessary," warns study director Erika Jensen-Jarolim.
“They prevent protein digestion, change the microbiome in the gastrointestinal tract and increase the risk of allergic reactions. As soon as they have completed their medically prescribed task, they should be stopped quickly. "
In addition, gastric acid blockers only fight the symptoms and not the cause of suffering.
"Treating doctors should therefore determine the shortest possible intake of gastric protection," says Jensen-Jarolim.
In any case, there are also natural methods that help against stomach problems.
"In the treatment of stress reactions such as heartburn, a change in lifestyle or work-life balance is recommended," explains the study leader. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.