New study links antacid medicines to allergies

Antacid medicines

New study links antacid medicines to allergies

Recently, research published in the journal Nature Communications has found an interesting link between prescription antacid medicines used to reduce stomach acid and the likelihood of needing a prescription of anti-allergy drugs in future years. 

Researchers looked at data from the health records of over eight million people in Austria over four years. This is around 97% of the population – a significant sample for Austria, but perhaps not for the rest of the world. Though is there something we can learn from the study?

The results

The results from the research show people who took proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) – such as antacids – are around two times more likely to get a prescription for anti-allergy drugs in the future. They also found that it was more prominent in women and the elderly. 

Causes

While this research suggests antacids are linked to allergies, it’s not always that simple. Even with other research that shows the same, you can’t say for sure one thing causes the other. It’s what we call ‘causality’. This is especially true when you’re comparing other countries. Sir Munir Pirmohamed, a professor of molecular and clinical pharmacology, says the study has limitations

These limitations are things like what health conditions the patients might have had, their lifestyles, other drugs they might take, and other variables. While the study is interesting, we can’t say for sure that antacid medication causes a need for anti-allergy medication in the future. However, there might still be something we can learn.

The study suggests we need to be careful when prescribing medicines as they can have adverse effects on patient health. So we should prescribe medicines only when necessary, in the correct amounts, and after a thorough risk assessment. 

No one is 100% certain what causes allergies, although there are many theories out there. While we don’t know the causes, allergy professionals know the most effective treatments.

If you’re suffering from an allergy and need to find a new way to manage your symptoms effectively, don’t hesitate to contact the consultants at the London Allergy and Immunology Centre on 02031 433 449.

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