A study in The American Journal of Gastroenterology finds that people who take proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medication once or twice daily may be at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection compared to non-users.
PPIs are generally used to treat heartburn and acid reflux. These drugs are available as prescriptions or over-the-counter medication. Common over-the-counter PPIs include Prilosec and Nexium.
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles and University of Michigan conducted the study through a large population-based online survey. The observational study asked more than 53,000 participants about their PPI use and whether they tested positive for COVID-19.
3,386 (6.4%) out of the 53,130 participants tested positive for COVID-19 during the observation period. The data also shows that the participants who took PPI medication once a day were two times more likely to test positive and those who took the medication twice daily were more than three and a half times as likely to test positive.
According to the data, those who took non-PPI heartburn medication did not have the same rate of positive tests.
Since this is an observational study, it is still prone to confounding factors. Regardless, this data still provides crucial information for doctors and patients alike.
Why do PPI Drugs Increase the Risk of COVID-19 Infection?
Simply put, the acid in the stomach protects the digestive tract from pathogens. However, when a person’s gastric pH is low, the acid can easily destroy COVID-19 if it enters the stomach via saliva.
By using PPI drugs, the stomach’s pH becomes more basic. This makes it more difficult for the stomach acid to effectively kill the coronavirus.
Should I Stop Taking PPI Drugs?
Like any other medical situation, speak with your doctor about your health history and concerns. Depending on your medical circumstances, COVID-19 may pose a significant risk and warrant replacement drugs, like H2 blockers, to treat conditions like acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
If you believe you contracted COVID-19 because of PPI drug use, contact our experienced dangerous drug attorneys today. Calling right away can help us fully explain your legal options and let you focus on the road to recovery.