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Popular stomach acid reducer triples risk of developing pneumonia
Date:9/14/2009

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. A popular stomach-acid reducer used to prevent stress ulcers in critically ill patients needing breathing machine support increases the risk of those patients contracting pneumonia threefold, according to researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia is the leading cause of infection-related deaths in critically ill patients. It increases hospital stays by an average of seven to nine days, cost of care, and the risk of other complications.

"As best we can tell, patients who develop hospital-acquired pneumonia or ventilator-acquired pneumonia have about a 20 to 30 percent chance of dying from that pneumonia," said senior study author David L. Bowton, M.D., professor and head of the Section on Critical Care in the Department of Anesthesiology. "It's a significant event."

The study, published in a recent issue of CHEST, compared treatment with two drugs that decrease stomach acid: ranitidine, marketed under the name ZantacTM, and pantoprazole, marketed under the name ProtonixTM or PrilosecTM.

Both drugs decrease stomach acid, but the newer pantoprazole is considered more powerful and has become the drug of choice in many hospitals.

However, in the analysis of 834 patient charts, the researchers found that hospitalized cardiothoracic surgery patients treated with pantoprazole were three times more likely to develop pneumonia.

"We conducted this study, in part, because we thought we were seeing more pneumonias than we were used to having," said study co-author Marc G. Reichert, Pharm.D., pharmacy coordinator for surgery at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Both acid-reducing drugs can make the stomach a more hospitable place for bacteria to colonize. Patients on breathing machines sometimes develop pneumonia when stomach secretions reflux into the lungs.

Current treatment guidelines to prevent pneumonia recommend ra
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Contact: Shannon Koontz
shkoontz@wfubmc.edu
336-716-2415
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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