HealthDay News — Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) at higher doses are associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, in New Orleans.

Researchers analyzed the records of 244,679 Danish patients, average age 57. All had undergone an endoscopy. During about 6 years of follow-up, 9,489 patients had their first ischemic stroke. The investigators examined the association between ischemic stroke and the PPIs omeprazole, esomeprazole, lansoprazole, and pantoprazole.

The team found that PPIs were associated with an increased overall stroke risk of 21%, lead author Thomas Sehested, MD, research director at the Danish Heart Foundation in Copenhagen, told HealthDay. However, the risk appears to be driven by high doses, added Sehested. The extent of risk also depended on the specific PPI taken. At the highest dose, stroke risk ranged from 30% for lansoprazole to 94% for pantoprazole.

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“At one time, PPIs were thought to be safe, without major side effects,” Sehested said. “This study further questions the cardiovascular safety of these drugs.”

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  1. Fosbøl EL, Hansen PW, Charlot MG, et al. Popular heartburn medication may increase ischemic stroke risk. AHA. 15 November 2016.