Stomach Acid & Allergies
Austrian scientists have established a link between stomach acid reducing prescription medicines and an increased risk of developing allergies. Researchers had access to the health records of over 8 million Austrians over a four-year period and found that patients prescribed gastric acid inhibitors were twice as likely to also be prescribed anti-allergy drugs in the future.
Protein-pump inhibitors (PPIs) are commonly used to relieve symptoms of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and reduce the acidity in the stomach. In doing this they also inhibit the efficacy of normal chemical reactions involved in digestion which leads to larger protein molecules and other harmful substances passing through to the intestine and potentially triggering an allergic response from the immune system. PPIs can often be found to be prescribed in conjunction with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which are already well known to increase the risks of allergic reactions.
Acid inhibitors are a very commonly prescribed drug class in developed countries worldwide and have a favourable safety profile. There is also a significant issue with people self-medicating with over the counter options. Anti-ulcer medicines should only be used where there is clinical need at the lowest dose and for the shortest time possible.