Using Drugs for Heartburn may lead to B12 Deficiency

A recent study released on Tuesday suggests that individuals who regularly use acid-suppressing drugs for heartburn over a period of two years or longer face an increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency compared to those who do not use them.

The medications in question, known as proton-pump inhibitors and histamine 2 receptor antagonists, are available both by prescription and over the counter under brand names such as Nexium and Prilosec. They are primarily intended to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other acid-related medical conditions.

The study analyzed medical records of 25,956 adults diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency between 1997 and 2011, comparing their data with 184,199 patients without the deficiency. The findings revealed that individuals who took proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) for over two years were 65 percent more likely to develop vitamin B12 deficiency. Moreover, those who received higher doses of the drug were at an even greater risk of experiencing significantly low levels of the vitamin in their bodies.