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Proton Pump Inhibitor Could Increase Risk of Pneumonia

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Seoul, South KoreaAccording to new research, certain popular heartburn drugs such as a proton pump inhibitor could increase the risk of pneumonia, HealthDay News reports.

Researchers in Korea reportedly examined the results of 31 studies on heartburn drugs that were published between 1985 and 2009, according to the news provider.

"Our results suggest that the use of acid-suppressive drugs is associated with an increased risk of pneumonia," said Dr. Sang Min Park of the department of family medicine at Seoul National University Hospital in Korea. "Patients should be cautious at overuse of acid-suppressive drugs, both high-dose and long duration."

Proton pump inhibitors are used to reduce the production of acid in the stomach and treat heartburn, gastric ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease, according to the news provider.

Studies indicate that between 40 and 70 percent of patients who are hospitalized are given certain acid-suppressing drugs, and the authors of the recent report say that such drugs could result in pneumonia that is contracted in the hospital.

According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, sales of the popular heartburn drugs reached nearly $27 billion in the US in 2005.

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