Omeprazole and stomach flu

Could Omeprazole cause Stomach flu?

Recent studies found that patients who use proton pump inhibitors drugs to control stomach acid production are more likely to suffer from infectious gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu. Yingxi Chen and colleagues of the Australian National University followed about 38,000 patients for more than six years. They found that patients who use PPIs such as esomeprazole and omeprazole were about one and a half times more likely to suffer gastroenteritis that required hospitalization compared to non-users. The incidence of gastroenteritis was also dose related. Elderly users of PPIs and those who had a higher BMI were at the highest risk of infection.

According to this data it has been suggested that PPIs may lower ability to fight infections. PPIs lower gastric acidity, which is the first line defense against ingested pathogens. This may lead to bacterial colonization, thus increasing an individual’s susceptibility to enteric infection. Also, another recent study from this year by Robert-Jan Hassing and colleagues published in the European Journal of Epidemiology found similar results. The initial results were that PPIs users are six times more likely compared to non-users to be infected with stomach flu. However after refining data researchers reduced that to about two times. The most frequently used PPI was esomeprazole, available in the brand name Nexium, which made up 30.1 % of all prescriptions. Omeprazole came on second place, under the brand name Prilosec, followed with 25.2 % and pantoprazole with brand name Protonix took 21.4 % of prescriptions.

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