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Alert as PCOs shortchange GPs over childhood immunisations

Patients on acid suppressant therapy are four times more likely to catch pneumonia, according to new research.

GPs should prescribe the minimum dose of acid suppressant therapies to patients at risk of acquiring pneumonia, and only when strictly necessary, Dutch researchers warned.

But GP experts said they would not change their prescribing patterns as a result of the findings, published in last week's edition of JAMA.

The University of Nij-megen study found the incidence of community-acquired pneumonia was 2.45 per 100 person-years in patients taking acid-suppressing therapies but only 0.6 per 100 person-years in controls.

Raised pH might remove an important barrier to bacterial and viral colonisation, the study authors suggested, but they conceded that patients

on acid suppressants might have more co-morbidities than non-users.

However, Dr Mike Thomas, a GP in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, said he would not change his practice as a

result.

Dr Thomas, a board member of the General Practice Airways Group, said: 'It may not be a causal relationship ­ it may be a marker for some other area that increases the chance of pneumonia.'

The research analysed data on 364,683 patients from a database of general practice records.

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