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Common antacid increases heart attack risk by upto 21%, research suggests

Adults who use proton pump inhibitors are between 16-21% more likely to experience a heart attack than people who don't use the commonly prescribed medicine, Stanford University research revealed.

They examined 16 million clinical documents of 2.9 million patients and found that a different type of antacid drug called a H2 blocker gave patients no increased heart attack risk.

"By looking at data from people who were given PPI drugs primarily for acid reflux and had no prior history of heart disease, our data-mining pipeline signals an association with a higher rate of heart attacks," said lead author, Nigam Shah.

"Our results demonstrate that PPIs appear to be associated with elevated risk of heart attack in the general population, and H2 blockers show no such association," he said.

The British Heart Foundation estimates that around 50,000 men and 32,000 women have a heart attack each year in England. Most heart attacks occur in people aged over 45 when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.

The symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling weak and/or lightheaded and an overwhelming feeling of anxiety. However the chest pain can be mild and mistaken for indigestion or acid reflux.