The medicines we know in Australia called Nexium, Pariet, Losec and Zoton, belong to a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPI). They were once considered to be the last line of treatment of heartburn and reflux, and only prescribed in the more serious cases of gastric ulcer and Barret's oesophagus and hiatus hernia. Now it's prescribed readily and perpetually for any heartburn and reflux.
Its already recognised that these drugs impair vitamin and mineral absorption (1), but now researchers have discovered a far more sinister correlation between PPIs and the risk of heart attack. By interrogating 2.9 million electronic records, researchers from Houston Methodist and Stanford University, California discovered that people that took PPIs had a 16-21% greater risk of myocardial infarction (2).
This is a very high risk outcome for a very low risk condition that can be managed with simple dietary and lifestyle changes, such as reducing caffeine, alcohol, chilli, cigarettes and by reducing weight. There are also very effective complementary medicines for managing the symptoms of heartburn and reflux without the side effects of PPIs.