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Long-Term Use of Acid Suppresants May Increase Risk of Dementia

Proton pump inhibitors, also known as acid suppresants, are used to treat heartburn, gastritis, and stomach ulcers. They reduce stomach acid production by inhibiting the acetylcholine biosynthesizing enzyme. A recent study suggests that prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors may increase the risk of dementia.

For their study, the researchers used 3D simulations to determine how proton pump inhibitors interact with an enzyme called choline acetyletransferase, which synthesizes the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. They found that proton pump inhibitors obstruct the enzyme, which resuts in a reduced production of acetylcholine.

Many people who have dementia have lower levels of acetylcholine. Since proton pump inhibitors reduce production or acetylcholine, prolonged use may increase the risk of dementia.

The study was conducted by researchers from Karolinska Institutet. It was published online ahead of print on May 8, 2020 in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

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