Change of heart

To reduce stomach acid, heartburn patients have a couple of options: H2 blockers like Pepcid or Zantac, or the stronger proton-pump inhibitors like Prilosec or Prevacid.

The 20 million Americans who take PPIs may want to reconsider, say researchers, who have found a link between their use and the risk of a subsequent heart attack.

In a study published in June 2015 in PLOS ONE, lead author Nigam Shah, PhD, MBBS, assistant professor of biomedical informatics, and colleagues mined the electronic health records of 3 million people, comparing the frequency of subsequent heart attacks among PPI users with that of heartburn sufferers who were not using PPIs.

They found a roughly 20 percent increase in the rate of heart attacks among PPI users. H2 blockers were not associated with increased cardiovascular risk.