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VITAMIN B12 AND PPIs. The spotlight now is on common heartburn medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, and their link to vitamin B12 deficiency, according to findings published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in December 2013. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to nerve damage, anemia, dementia risk and susceptibility to the C. difficile infection, which causes severe diarrhea, and can lead to death in extreme cases. Of the 157 million prescriptions written for acid-suppressing medications in the U.S. in 2012, and countless millions of over-the-counter purchases of the proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 receptor antagonists (H2RA), about 60 to 70 percent are consumed needlessly, according to Dr. Michael Katz, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health and author of an editorial that accompanied the studies. The research was conducted on 25,956 adults diagnosed with B12 deficiency in California between January 1997 and June 2011; they were compared to 184,199 patients without B12 deficiency during the same period. Patients who took PPI medications for more than two years had a 65 percent increase in their risk of B12 deficiency. PPIs include the drugs Prevacid, Nexium and Prilosec. H2RAs were found to have less impact on patients' B12 levels than the PPIs. Zantac is a common H2RA.

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Publication:Duke Medicine Health News
Date:Feb 1, 2014
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