Acid reflux drugs are often prescribed to treat stomach problems by reducing acid production that may cause ulcers. For cancer patients and survivors, they may bring unintended consequences like reduction in the recovery of breast cancer survivors’ memory and concentration.
New Ohio State University research finds a connection between breast cancer survivors’ use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and the problem related to concentration and memory. On average, valid problems reported by PPI users were between 20 to 29 percent more than the problems issued by non-PPI users. Brands like Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec sell PPIs.
The first study to check PPI use in breast cancer survivors used information from three previous Ohio State clinical trials observing fatigue and vaccine response in breast cancer patients and survivors. In those studies, participants reported their prescribed medicines.
After controlling factors like illness, depression, types of cancer treatment, education and age— the researcher came to know that the use of PPI causes more serious concentration and memory symptoms.
Annelise Madison, a graduate student in clinical physiology at Ohio State found that the harshness of cognitive problems described by PPI users in this study was resembling the reports of patients having chemotherapy.
Problems were also reported by PPI non-users but they were doing better and it’s uncertain if PPI users might not be able to completely better cognitively after chemotherapy.
Madison continued this study depending on her knowledge of PPI’s known capacity to detour the blood-brain barrier and previous researches implying that PPI use in cancer patients may cause a tumor’s sensitivity to chemotherapy and save the digestive system from the destruction of chemo drugs.
Madison found that taking PPIs can cause cognitive effects because breast cancer survivors in this population are already at high danger for cognitive decline. PPIs are studied safe so there were no long term trials because no one was thinking that it would have harmful effects.
Madison works in the lab of professor Kiecolt-Glaser at Ohio State. Madison performed secondary analyses of her professor’s earlier studies inspecting the connection of inflammation to treatment and survivorship of breast cancer for this work. 88 taking PPIs out of 551 women were used in Madison’s analysis. Self-reports of use of PPI and symptoms were provided by the women in the earlier studies.
Women in the studies completed a questionnaire and rated on a scale of 0 to 10, the seriousness of their problems of memory and concentration. Madison found that concentration problems in the fatigue study of PPI users were 20% harsher than non-PPI users while concentration problems in the yoga study of PPI users were 29% more severe than non-PPI users. In reported memory problems there were no differences.
In the next study which emphasized data from placebo visit of a typhoid vaccine trial, she found that in reported concentration issues there were no differences while memory issues were 28% harsher in PPI users. Scores of PPI users were lower on the questionnaire about breast cancer survivors.
The similar effects were found in three sets of patients at different stages of cancer survivorship that gave it worth. For the treatment of gastric ulcers, gastric acid problems and disorders of excessive acid secretion short term use of PPIs has been approved by U.S.Food and Drug Administration.
In breast cancer survivors there is a correlation between PPI use and cognitive problems so the use of PPIs should be prohibited in cancer patients and short term use for the treatment of patients suffering from gastric ulcers.