Regular use of acid reflux drug is linked to a 24% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a study has suggested.
US research published in the journal Gut, which tracked data from 204,689 people for between nine and 12 years, found that the longer that acid reflux drugs are taken, the higher the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The researchers have now warned clinicians that patients taking the drugs, also known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), for two or more years should have regular blood glucose check-ups to screen for diabetes.
They said: ‘Owing to wide usage, the overall number of diabetes cases associated with PPI use could be considerable. For patients who have to receive long-term PPI treatment, screening for abnormal blood glucose and type 2 diabetes is recommended.’
The study looked at participants from three ongoing cohorts: the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), the NHS II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.
It found 4.32 cases of diabetes per 1,000 people who didn’t regularly take PPIs, rising to 7.44 per 1,000 for regular PPI users. Regular use was defined as twice or more a week.
PPI use for up to two years was associated with a 5% increased risk, while use for more than two years was associated with a 26% increased risk. After participants stopped using PPIs, risk fell over time.
Overall, those who regularly used PPIs were 24% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t, after considering factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity and use of other medication.
A mounting body of evidence suggests that changes in the gut microbiome may help explain the associations found between PPI use and an increased risk of developing diabetes.
PPIs are used to treat acid reflux, peptic ulcers, and indigestion, and are among the top 10 most commonly used drugs worldwide.
Long-term use has also been linked to an increased risk of bone fractures, chronic kidney disease, gut infections and stomach cancer.