Using proton pump inhibitors could increase your chances of developing liver cancer by 80%
10/13/2019 // Tracey Watson // Views

According to the American Cancer Society, the number of people diagnosed with liver cancer has more than tripled since 1980. Around 42,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and the mortality rate is incredibly high, with the disease claiming 31,780 lives annually.

While lifestyle and other factors may play a role in this shocking increase, a recent study provides a clue to another potential cause: the widespread use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).

The study, published in the journal of Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, found that patients who used a PPI known as Prilosec® were 83 percent more likely to develop liver cancer than those who did not. The researchers’ findings confirmed the results of earlier studies which found that rats exposed to PPIs were more likely to develop liver tumors.

What are PPIs?

PPIs are routinely prescribed – and are also available over the counter – for a variety of disorders related to the stomach and stomach acid, including heartburn, ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). PPIs are so commonly prescribed, in fact, that they are among the top 10 prescribed classes of drugs on the market today.

In other words, PPIs represent a lot of money to Big Pharma; perhaps that is why pharmaceutical companies do little to warn people of the serious side effects of these drugs, instead encouraging doctors to hand them out like candy.

What the study found

For their study, the research team examined data derived from the U.K.’s Primary Care Clinical Informatics Unit (PCCIU) database and the UK Biobank.


Life Extension explains that the scientists employed two proven techniques to determine whether there was a link between PPI use and liver cancer. They then cross-referenced their data, making their findings even more conclusive.

Firstly, a case-control study was conducted to identify a group of people with primary livery cancer and another control group who were free of the disease. The groups were carefully matched in terms of age, gender and a number of other criteria. A total of 434 patients with liver cancer made up the first group, with 2,013 control subjects being included in the second. The health outcomes of these two groups were then compared in terms of liver cancer.

The second part of the research was based on a prospective cohort study, a method used to identify a large group of people and gather a wide spectrum of information about their health. This allowed the researchers to check whether people who did or did not develop liver cancer had been exposed to PPIs.

What did the research find? Life Extension reports:

A link between PPIs and liver cancer was demonstrated in both parts of the study.

In the case-control study, PPI use was associated with an 80% increased risk of liver cancer. The strongest PPI drug-specific association, with an 83% increased risk of liver cancer1 was with omeprazole, most commonly sold as Prilosec® or Zegerid®.

In the prospective cohort study, which looked at nearly 500,000 participants, those individuals who had used PPIs nearly doubled their risk of liver cancer compared with people who had never used them.

The better way to fight acid indigestion

The first line of defense for GERD sufferers and others who suffer with acid indigestion should never be the use of a PPI, as clearly demonstrated by this study. But there is another, better way, to address it and it may be as simple as losing some weight and wearing looser clothing.

Healthline reports:

Occasional heartburn can happen to anyone, but being overweight is one of the most common causes of GERD. In fact, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy identifies obesity as the leading cause of frequent heartburn. Excess weight increases abdominal pressure, making stomach acid leakage or backflow more likely.

Tight clothing can also aggravate symptoms of heartburn. Losing weight can help alleviate acid reflux, and it can make your clothing looser as another form of treatment.

It may seem a lot easier to use a PPI than to tackle the hard work of losing weight, but slimming down will improve your quality of life now by reducing acid reflux symptoms, and will also protect your long-term health and longevity.

Discover tips to help you drop the pounds at

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