Heartburn medications tied to higher risk of drug-resistant bacteria colonization

Hospitalized patients taking proton pump inhibitors — medications used to treat heartburn — may be at a higher risk of acquiring multidrug-resistant bacteria, according to a study published Feb. 23 in JAMA Network Open. 

The study was led by a team of researchers in the Netherlands and involved 2,239 patients treated at two tertiary medical centers in Amsterdam between Dec. 31, 2018 and Jan. 6, 2021. Researchers found hospitalized patients taking the proton pump inhibitors had a nearly 50 percent higher chance of colonization of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase- or carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales. The risk was slightly higher for hospitalized patients who took proton pump inhibitors twice a day. 

While colonization doesn't always lead to illness, it increases the risk of infection. 

"These findings emphasize the judicious use of PPIs," researchers said.

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