Recent data from the American Journal of Gastroenterology published online, July 7, 2020 from Dr. Brennan Spiegel and colleagues, from the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, showed that patients taking a proton pump inhibitor such as Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Nexium, etc., up to once a day, were twice as likely to have a positive COVID–19 test then patients who did not take these medications. Note that this was an association only, and there was no documented causation found at this time. This association did not hold true with H2 blocker therapy such as famotidine or Pepcid. Patients taking PPI therapy twice daily were at nearly a four-fold higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19. This should prompt patients and physicians to make sure that patients need to be on this group of medications, but if their use is appropriate, more than likely, these medications should not be interrupted on the basis of the association with COVID–19 alone. Please discuss the issue with your health care provider before making any changes.

In addition, “We found no evidence to support the proposed association between PPI use and an increased risk of dementia.” So states Muhammad Ali Khan, MD, and colleagues from the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Further, “PPI use among patients who have a valid indication for it, should not be curtailed because of concerns about dementia risk.” This was published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology 2020;115:671-678. As has been commented on previously on our web site, previous research reporting an association between PPI medications and dementia were never found to be causative.

Ken Schwab, MD