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Study finds PPI pneumonia link

Proton pump inhibitors increase the risk of pneumonia five-fold in the first week after initiation, new research reveals.

The study of 7,642 patients with a first-discharge diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia found current use of PPIs increased the risk of community-acquired pneumonia by 50%. In those who had started PPI treatment in the last seven days, this risk rose to 400%.

Study leader Dr Sinem Gulmez, researcher in clinical pharmacology at the University of Southern Denmark, said: 'Recent initiation of treatment with PPIs showed a particularly strong association with community-acquired pneumonia, while risk decreased with treatment started a long time ago.'

However, GPs in the UK said there was not enough evidence to conclude PPIs were risky.

Dr Richard Stevens, chair of the primary care society for gastroenterology, said: 'It can't be that significant as the drugs are very widely used and I am sure we would have seen these findings before. It needs work, but it won't change my practice yet.'

Dr Brian Crichton, honorary lecturer in pharmacology and therapeutics at the University of Warwick and a GP in Solihull, agreed, and added: 'Of course we need to keep our minds open to further developments, but from a primary care point of view I would say be aware of the study but do not alter your prescribing.'

The study was published in the 14 May issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

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