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Proton Pump Inhibitors Interact with Cancer, Autoimmune Drug

Filed October 23rd, 2012 Laurie

Health Canada has issued a warning to Canadians and Canadian healthcare practitioners, informing them of new labeling information for methotrexate and Proton Pump Inhibitors.

The labels for methotrexate and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) will now include information on possible interactions between the two, and will be located in the “Warnings and Precautions” section of the drugs’ labels. Methotrexate is used to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases. PPIs treat ailments like acid indigestion and heartburn.

When methotrexate and PPIs are taken together, too much methotrexate can build up in the blood, resulting in adverse health events, according to The Canadian Press, including diarrhea, kidney failure, low red blood cell count, inflammation of the digestive tract, irregular heartbeat, muscle pain, and infection. The likelihood of adverse events is considered “very likely” by Health Canada.

The agency does not recommend that patients stop taking their medication unless they are under the guidance of a physician to do so, but they should contact their doctor if they have any concerns.

Health Canada also reminded health care practitioners that PPIs should always be prescribed at the lowest dose and for the least amount of time possible. Practitioners should consider withdrawing PPIs from patients who receive high-dose methotrexate.

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