There were several news reports recently about potential problems with using PPI acid reducing drugs for prolonged time due to the effects they have on calcium absorption.
We also wrote about how aspirin could lower risk of colon cancer and cardiac surgery complications.
Today we have some more interesting news about effects of Omeprazole (this drug is part of Proton-Pump Inhibitors group which includes Prilosec, Nexium, Protonix and many others) when it is taken together with blood-thinning drugs – more specifically Clopidogrel which is commonly known as Plavix.
Recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that Omeprazole does not increase chances of cardiovascular complications in patients taking Clopidogrel and Aspirin. Clopidogrel and Aspirin are very important blood thinning drugs which are prescribed to patients with increased risks of heart attack and stroke. They significantly decrease chances of heart problems but have one negative health effect. They cause multiple stomach problems (here is a full list of problems from the article: composite of overt or occult bleeding, symptomatic gastroduodenal ulcers or erosions, obstruction, or perforation). To mitigate these side effects doctors often prescribe Proton-Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). But until this study it was unclear what effects PPIs have on patients with heart problems.
Study involved 3761 patients. 2.9% of patients had stomach events when taking placebo instead of Omeprazole while only 1.1% of patients who took real Omeprazole had problems with stomach. So Omeprazole helped decrease stomach events by more than 60% in the Omeprazole control group. During the study 109 patients had cardiovascular event with event rates of 4.9% with Omeprazole and 5.7% with placebo. No difference in severity and distribution of cardiac events were found in Omeprazole group in comparison with placebo group. The only issue in Omeprazole group was slightly increased chance of diarrhea which is a common side effect of PPIs.
As article states in the conclusion: “There was no apparent cardiovascular interaction between clopidogrel and omeprazole, but our results do not rule out a clinically meaningful difference in cardiovascular events due to use of a PPI.”
It is great to hear that Omeprazole still proves itself as safe drug with minimal interactions with other medications. But still make sure to always consult with your doctor before starting long term regimen of PPIs.
Research study was led by Dr. Deepak Bhatt of the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System.
If you’re interested in more details about this article please visit page of “Clopidogrel with or without Omeprazole in Coronary Artery Disease” article on The New England Journal of Medicine website.