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Study Finds Increased C. Diff Risk with Proton Pump Inhibitors

Filed May 10th, 2012 Laurie

A London-based systematic review and meta-analysis of data from 30 studies shows the use of acid-suppression therapy was associated with a significantly increased risk for Clostridium difficile infection in research subjects. Previous studies had seemed to indicate a link between proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and a greater risk of developing the infection. The review consisted of 30 studies from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Israel.

“We found a robust association between acid-suppression therapy and the appearance of CDI,” said Dr. Tleyjeh, director of the research and scientific publication center and a consultant in infectious disease at King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“Our findings have major global implications, particularly that most of the use of acid-suppression therapy [is] unjustified based on available evidence,” he added.

C. difficle is a bacterium that causes gastrointestinal symptoms ranging from mild to serious, including diarrhea and life-threatening colon inflammation. The elderly population living in hospitals and nursing facilities who take antibiotic medications are at the highest risk of becoming ill.

Researchers are unsure of the reason for the association between acid suppression and CDI. While gastric acid does not does not kill live C. difficile spores, it does kill the vegetative form of the bacterium. Acid-suppression therapy has been shown to slow gastric emptying, which could improve the survival of the vegetative form.

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