People suffering from Helicobacter pylori, a type of stomach bacteria that increases the risk of stomach cancer and ulcers, may still be at risk of stomach cancer even after antibiotic treatment eliminates the bacterium.
A new study published by researchers at the University of Hong Kong found that prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) could lead to an increased risk of stomach cancer. The study covered 63,397 people in Hong Kong who were treated for H. pylori – 21,179 used H2-receptor antagonists, a type of acid-controller (Pepcid, Tagamet, etc.), and 3,271 used PPIs.
Their study found that PPI users were more than twice as likely to develop stomach cancer compared to H2 users.
“Even after the eradication of H. pylori, the risk of cancer persists with P.P.Is,” said the lead author, Dr. Wai Keung Leung, a professor of medicine at the University of Hong Kong. “But the absolute risk is not high, and I don’t want to discourage people from taking these drugs when necessary. There are people who benefit tremendously from them.”
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