If you take acid-fighting drugs to curb your heartburn, peptic ulcer, or other gastrointestinal malady, you might be trading one minor problem for a much bigger one. A recent large-scale study from Holland suggests that people who take an H-2 receptor (Tagamet, Pepcid) or proton-pump inhibitor (Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec) experience a 4.1 times greater risk for pneumonia. Why? Stomach acid kills germs. Reduce the acid and you open the door to more germs.
Researchers say this may not be a concern for young, healthy people, but older adults who use acid-suppressing medication should do so only when absolutely necessary and always at the lowest effective dose.
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