The popular heartburn drug Zantac has been linked to cancer, putting patients at risk for potentially fatal side effects. Cancer is not the only health concern linked to this and other proton pump inhibitors, though. A more recent study shows that people who regularly take PPIs are also much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, especially when taken alongside other types of heartburn drugs — including those related to the Zantac recall.
In addition to heartburn, PPIs are also used to treat other digestive conditions, like peptic ulcers. Patients in Ohio can get PPIs by prescription from their doctors or can purchase them over the counter. These drugs have already been linked to conditions such as stomach cancer, digestive tract infections, kidney disease and bone fractures.
The more recent connection to type 2 diabetes is based on three different long-term studies in the United States. The studies all began in either the 1970s or 1980s and followed approximately 176,000 women and 29,000 men in the health care profession. For every two years of the study, participants updated researchers with their behaviors and health. Around 20 years ago, researchers started asking participants if they used PPIs at least two times a week.
Researchers concluded that regularly using PPIs increased the study participant’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This was after controlling for other factors that generally impact a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes, like physical inactivity, weight and high blood pressure. Participants who regularly used PPIs for two years were at a 5% higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The risk went up 26% for participants who used the drugs for longer than two years.
The risk for type 2 diabetes is even higher for patients taking a PPI and an H2 receptor blocker — another type of heartburn drug — at the same time. Zantac is an H2 receptor blocker that has already been found to cause cancer. Victims in Ohio who have developed cancer and other serious health concerns because of these and other drugs may feel understandably worried about their futures, especially when it comes to dealing with financial hurdles like lost wages and medical bills. For victims struggling after the Zantac recall, getting compensation from the pharmaceutical companies may be key.