Acid reducing drugs increase risk of celiac disease

By Van Waffle

Summary: Proton pump inhibitors are acid reducing drugs used to treat ulcers, reflux and other gastrointestinal disorders. They allow more undigested protein to pass into the gut and are known to increase the risk of developing food allergies. Their use is on the rise, and so is celiac disease. An American and Swedish team investigated this correlations, and found that people who were prescribed proton pump inhibitors had an increased risk of developing celiac disease.

The researchers collected data from all celiac disease patients diagnosed in Sweden between 2005 and 2008. They compared these individuals with similar people in the general population, and looked at their records past prescriptions of proton pump inhibitors as well as a similar class of drugs called histamine-2 receptor antagonists.

Conclusion: People previously prescribed proton pump inhibitors were almost five times more likely than a control population to develop celiac disease. This association occurred even if patients had not used the drug within a year before celiac diagnosis. The researchers say this suggests the drug can cause celiac disease, but other gut health factors could affect this correlation. More research is required to demonstrate how proton pump inhibitors might trigger celiac disease.


[1] “Use of proton pump inhibitors and subsequent risk of celiac disease”, Lebwohl B, Spechler SJ, Wang TC, Green PH, Ludwigsson Jf, Digestive and Liver Disease 2013 Sep 12 [Epub ahead of print].

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