Vienna – The intake of stomach acid blockers apparently increases the risk of allergies. This report Austrian researchers after the evaluation of the data of the health insurance.
Patients who were prescribed gastric acid medications were therefore more likely to receive allergy medications in the following years. A German expert recommends not to take the funds without care.
Gastric acid blockers are widely used drugs, used for example in heartburn and regurgitation and in inflammations of the intestine or esophagus, but also, by for example, when taking pain medication.
Researchers around Galateja Jordakieva of the University of Vienna evaluated the data provided by Austrian health insurance companies. They provided information on the treatment of more than 8.2 million patients, which corresponds to almost the entire Austrian population. Scientists have examined how many times certain medications were prescribed to people between 2009 and 2013.
There was a correlation between two diseases: the probability of needing an allergy drug was twice as high in patients who had previously been prescribed a gastric acid inhibitor as in the other patients. According to the team of the journal "Nature Communications", women were particularly affected by the increased risk of allergies, just like the elderly.
The prescribed medication made no difference. As stomach acid blockers act in a very different way, researchers suspect that their effect – the change in acidity (pH) in the stomach – is responsible for allergies. The proteins absorbed by the diet could not be broken down as well in the stomach and then cause allergies. According to the researchers, drugs could also activate the signaling pathways through which allergies are triggered.
Ulrich Fölsch of the Schleswig-Holstein University Medical Center recommends not taking any stomach acid blocking agents. "These are very good drugs that can significantly improve the quality of life for some patients, and the side effects are within a reasonable range." But they should not be taken as a precaution, for example for painkillers.
In addition, the gastric acid inhibitors should be discontinued after a while, so that Fölsch. Some take them for years. "Although we have not yet seen any association with allergies, the study shows it and, interestingly, no matter what drug is used to inhibit stomach acid."
In recent years, experts have criticized the fact that gastric acid inhibitors are prescribed too often and imprudently. According to Barmer Krankenversicherung figures, about 11.5 million insured in Germany received a prescription for gastric acid antagonists in 2018. The so-called proton pump inhibitors are also available without prescription in the pharmacy .