Common heartburn drugs linked to higher risk of migraine headaches

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People using acid-reducing medications may be more likely to experience migraines and severe headaches, suggests a recent study published in Neurology Clinical Practice.

This study, based on data from 11,818 participants, found notable differences in headache occurrence among those taking medications such as proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers, compared to those who do not use these drugs.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like omeprazole and esomeprazole, and histamine H2-receptor antagonists or H2 blockers such as cimetidine and famotidine, are commonly used to treat conditions like acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

These conditions occur when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, leading to discomfort and potential complications such as ulcers and, in severe cases, esophageal cancer.

The study, led by Margaret Slavin, Ph.D., RDN, from the University of Maryland, highlights an association between the use of these acid-reducing drugs and an increased incidence of migraine and severe headaches.

Specifically, 25% of participants taking PPIs reported experiencing these types of headaches, compared to 19% of non-users.

Similarly, 25% of those on H2 blockers and 22% of those taking antacid supplements reported severe headaches, compared to 20% of those not using these treatments.

After adjusting for factors like age, sex, and lifestyle habits including caffeine and alcohol use, the research found that the likelihood of having migraines was 70% higher in those taking proton pump inhibitors, 40% higher in those using H2 blockers, and 30% higher in those taking antacid supplements.

These findings do not prove causation but suggest a significant correlation that warrants further investigation.

This is especially pertinent given the widespread use of these medications and emerging concerns about their long-term effects, such as the previously noted increased risk of dementia linked to prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors.

Slavin emphasizes the importance of not discontinuing any prescribed medication without professional guidance. “Many people do need these medications to manage their health conditions effectively.

However, individuals experiencing migraines or severe headaches should consult with their healthcare providers to discuss the potential risks and benefits of continuing their current treatment regimen,” she advises.

This research provides a foundation for future studies to explore the underlying mechanisms that might explain the association between acid-reducing drugs and increased headache risk.

It also calls for a balanced approach to prescribing and using these drugs, considering both their benefits and potential side effects.

If you care about pain, please read studies about how to manage your back pain, and Krill oil could improve muscle health in older people.

For more information about pain, please see recent studies about how to live pain-free with arthritis, and results showing common native American plant may help reduce diarrhea and pain.

The research findings can be found in Neurology Clinical Practice.

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