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Certain Reflux Drugs Tied to Higher Post-Angioplasty Death Rate
Date:11/16/2009

Study suggests interaction between Prilosec, Protonix and blood-thinners such as Plavix

MONDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- People taking the acid reflux drugs Prilosec or Protonix in combination with blood thinners have a higher risk for death after angioplasty than people who don't take the two popular antacids, a new study has found.

The people in the study, which is being presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Fla., were undergoing what doctors call "percutaneous coronary intervention," or PCI, a common procedure used to widen a narrowed artery. PCI typically involves balloon angioplasty followed by the insertion of a drug-emitting stent, a tiny mesh tube, to keep the vessel open.

The new study does not prove that taking popular antacids, or reflux drugs, known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), along with clot-busting agents such as clopidogrel (Plavix) caused the increased mortality, one expert noted.

"All this shows is that people taking PPIs have a worse outcome than those not taking PPIs," said Dr. Chet Rihal, director of the Mayo Clinic's catheterization lab in Rochester, Minn. "This does not prove there's causation. That would be like saying that carrying matches is associated with lung cancer. It is associated, but it doesn't mean it causes lung cancer."

"These data do not show that patients should stop taking PPIS, and, in fact, it would be dangerous for patients to stop PPIs or other medication without a physician's advice," Rihal said.

The mortality increase shown by the study is not actually surprising, he added. "People who are older are the ones who get stents and tend to get ulcers and stomach problems [warranting use of PPIs] so we would expect them to have a worse prognosis," Rihal said. "Whether it's due to medical problems or whether it has something to do with a drug-drug reaction is unclear."

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