Proton pump inhibitors linked to increased risk of heart attack

People who use proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are up to 21% more likely to experience a heart attack than people who do not use the antacids, according to researchers from Houston Methodist and Stanford University, California.

Our results demonstrate that PPIs appear to be associated with elevated risk of heart attack in the general population," says Nigam Shah, lead author of the paper and assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Stanford.

The findings come from a study of 16 million clinical documents representing 2.9 million people. Shah and team collected data about 1.8 million Stanford hospital and clinical patients and 1.1 million patients from a Web-based electronic medical records company. The data were scanned for patients who had been prescribed PPIs or other antacids such as H2 blockers to see whether any major cardiovascular events were mentioned in their records.


As reported in PLOS ONE, the use of PPIs was associated with a 16 to 21% increased risk of myocardial infarction.

"Our report raises concerns that these drugs – which are available over the counter and are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world – may not be as safe as we previously assumed," says principal investigator Nicholas Leeper.

Had they been in place, pharmacovigilance algorithms could have flagged this risk as early as the year 2000,” the researchers comment.

The team also found that the use of H2 blockers was not associated with any increased risk of a cardiovascular event.

Estimates from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) show that about one in 14 Americans have been prescribed PPIs and in 2009, PPIs were the third most commonly used drug in the U.S. The drug is prescribed to treat various disorders such as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), Helicobacter pylori infection and Barrett’s esophagus. Examples of brand names for PPIs include PrevAcid, Prilosec and Nexium and examples of H2 blockers are Zantac and Tagamet.

The researchers say they plan to conduct a large, randomized trial to confirm whether PPIs are harmful in a broader patient population.

Sally Robertson

Written by

Sally Robertson

Sally has a Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Sciences (B.Sc.). She is a specialist in reviewing and summarising the latest findings across all areas of medicine covered in major, high-impact, world-leading international medical journals, international press conferences and bulletins from governmental agencies and regulatory bodies. At News-Medical, Sally generates daily news features, life science articles and interview coverage.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Robertson, Sally. (2019, June 19). Proton pump inhibitors linked to increased risk of heart attack. News-Medical. Retrieved on September 29, 2020 from

  • MLA

    Robertson, Sally. "Proton pump inhibitors linked to increased risk of heart attack". News-Medical. 29 September 2020. <>.

  • Chicago

    Robertson, Sally. "Proton pump inhibitors linked to increased risk of heart attack". News-Medical. (accessed September 29, 2020).

  • Harvard

    Robertson, Sally. 2019. Proton pump inhibitors linked to increased risk of heart attack. News-Medical, viewed 29 September 2020,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
You might also like... ×
People with congenital heart defect may have worse functional exercise capacity