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Sharon Gillson

Will Prilosec and Nexium Increase Your Risk of Heart Attacks?

By August 9, 2007

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The FDA has issued its conclusions regarding two small long-term clinical studies of patients with severe GERD. In these studies, patients were chosen to either receive treatment with medication (omeprazole [Prilosec] or esomeprazole [Nexium]), or to have surgery to control their gastroesophageal reflux disease.

While early results from the study raised concerns that long-term use of Prilosec or Nexium may have increased the risk of heart attacks, heart failure, and heart-related sudden death in those patients taking either one of the drugs compared to patients who received surgery, FDA's preliminary conclusion at this time is that this data does not suggest an increased risk of heart problems for the following reasons:

  • While the initial data from this study suggested a difference between treatments in the rate of cardiovascular events, an updated report found that the number of patients who experienced heart problems was similar in both treatment groups.

  • While both of these studies collected safety data, the study protocols did not specify how heart problems, such as heart attacks, were to be defined or documented. As a result, evaluating the information that has been gathered about the safety of either drug in these studies is difficult.

  • Many of the patients who were chosen to have surgery withdrew from the study without ever undergoing the surgical procedure. The patients who did undergo surgery tended to be younger, and less likely to have a past history of heart problems or risk factors for heart problems, than those who were treated with one of the drugs. These differences between these two groups of patients could have biased the safety data from these studies.

  • FDAs conclusions are further supported by an additional analysis of 14 comparative studies of omeprazole, of which four were placebo-controlled. In these studies, there were fewer heart attacks or other heart problems reported in the patients treated with omeprazole compared to patients that were given a placebo.
For further information, you can read the FDA's report.

Are you taking Prilosec or Nexium? What are your thoughts concerning this new information? Will you continue taking these medications, or will you ask your doctor for an alternative? Share your thoughts by clicking on the "comments" link below this post.

August 12, 2007 at 7:14 am
(1) bea says:

Yes, I am very concerned about the report. Have been type 1 diabetic for 50 years, have severe heart disease,weigh 110 lb.,never smoked, have hiadal hernia and lesions, and am taking Prilosec for nightime pain of GERD. I do not want another heart attack, but have just started another course of Prilosec, because I cannot sleep at night and must lay on my right side because of heart disease. Does the Prilosec increase my chances of another heart attack? thank you. bea koch

August 12, 2007 at 2:31 pm
(2) annie stompf says:

I have been on nexium for 8 years and my heartburn is getting worse. i weigh 250 pounds and have MS. Is this a serious side effect or a new condition?

August 12, 2007 at 5:13 pm
(3) Wendy says:

Gee, could the fact that people so effectively get relief from their heartburn meds and therefore continue to eat terribly or that the reason they are getting heartburn is because they are under incredible stress in their life be contributing factors to heart attacks and heart disease??? Maybe it has nothing at all to do with the heartburn meds, but instead have to do with the reasons they’re getting heartburn to begin with. I am on Prilosec and hate to admit that I have gone back to eating poorly. This study has motivated me to get back to eating better and to trying to reduce stress in my life, though as a self-employed individual, I’m not sure that’s possible. I hope they take these factors into consideration before taking these amazing meds off the shelves.

September 5, 2007 at 2:42 pm
(4) Barbara says:

I have been on Nexium for 2 years now and I still have recurring LPR. I will speak with my Dr. for alternative surgery. I think if surgery is an option for you, then that is the only way to solve the problem

October 2, 2007 at 8:22 am
(5) Don says:

I am 40 years old and have been on Nexium for about a year. 3 months ago I started having chestpains, high b.p. and my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest from time to time. I have no doubt it was caused by the Nexium. I am in good shape and work out regular. I never had heart issues until I was on this medication.

January 2, 2008 at 2:44 am
(6) tonyajacobs says:

i know after i started taking nexium my heart started racing and skipping beats. will not be taking that anymore.

March 9, 2008 at 2:05 pm
(7) Miguel says:

Having suffered from acid reflux for most of my life, I finally was prescribed Nexium. It worked great and I could eat anything I wanted without problem. I took it for about two years. Then I read about Nexium’s possible link to heart desease. So, I decided to stop taking it and modify my diet instead. After a few months of severe acid reflux, my condition improved and, (if I eat right) I have few problems. Now, at age 67, about a year after quting Nexium, I find that I am having irregular heart beats. Is there a connection to my two years on Nexium? How would one ever know?
I think that all of us must accept the fact that stomach problems are related to diet and life style. By the way, I have always been a runner and exercise person. However, I have to admit that I drank too much, ate food I should not have, etc.
Had I, it to do over again, I would not have taken Nexium, even though I know it might not have anything to do with my heart problems, I would have concentrated on modifying my life style.

Here’s one for you; Because of my irregular heart beat, my doctor reccomended that I take a half asprin daily. Makes sense right? Well, after about three weeks, I started suffering severe gout. I “Googled” gout and guess what, low dose of asprin can cause gout. I stopped the asprin and the gout is gone.

November 15, 2008 at 6:36 pm
(8) Charlene says:

Recently I was taking Omeprazole for stomach acid, so I could take Salsalate for arthritis pain, without eating holes in my stomach. I had been taking it for a few months before starting the Salsalate. After about 2 months of taking the Salsalate, I had extreme pain in my hands, spine and feet, worse than ever before. One day last week, I had a stomach virus where I could not eat for a day, so I quit taking the meds. Pain in my feet, hands and spine stopped. Now I have recurrence of the prior stomach cramps and diarrhea, but not the horrible hands, feet and spine pain. What’s up with that?

December 22, 2008 at 6:58 pm
(9) CWB says:

I’m in the same boat as Don. I have been on Nexium for over a year now. 3 weeks ago I had a sudden new onset of SVT (really fast heart rate) and thought I was dying. It started at rest while lying in bed. I’ve also been newly diagnosed with high blood pressure. I’m still in the process of a gazillion tests by my new cardiologist, but the ones I’ve had so far (blood enzymes in ER, multiple EKG’s, Echo, nuclear stress test) have all been normal and have not indicated a “heart attack” or damage. I have began to suspect the Nexium and have stopped taking it to see if my cardio symptoms resolve or continue. (Based on missing nexium some days and not having any problems then taking it again another day and having chest pains) I’ll bookmark this site and try to let you know the results….

December 23, 2008 at 12:07 am
(10) Allison says:

Have been stuck taking PPIs (one after another) for at least 10 years. Heart-disease link or not, these are terrible drugs: while relieving GERD symptoms, they can create an IBS-type syndrome. And recently they’ve been implicated in decreased bone density. Good luck trying to get a GI dr. interested in any alternative other than surgery (which is risky and not without the risk of serious complications). They just blindly follow the pharm industry’s hype. There doesn’t seem to be any research going on re: GERD other than to develop new PPI clones.

January 4, 2009 at 10:50 pm
(11) Victoria says:

I’ve had reflux issues since 1980. Actually I coughed for 9 months of the year until 1999 when I was diagnosed with reflux. B4 that they said it was asthma that caused the coughing…nothing for asthma helped to stop the coughing. About 9 yrs ago,by luck, they diagnosed reflux. I’ve been put on previd..didn’t help, another one (forgot name), didn’t help, and lastly nexium. I take it twice a day 12 hrs apart. When I’m off it, I have severe heartburn, gurgling in the throat, and…U got it..coughing! I’m at the max for taking Nexium. As for heart issues, my oldest sis & brother both died at 50 & 54 with massive heart attachs. They didn’t have reflux issues that they ever admitted to. This article is real scarry to me. I’m being watched for heart issues this past year. I’ve been thru all the tests even a scan. Every thing comes out normal. I don’t have heart pallipations any more. At least, not since I was put on Lipitor. This I’ve been taking for at least 5 yrs. Like I said, this article scars me; but what’s a person do? We R guinea pigs until the cure is found. The eating right part is very, very hard to do. It’s a constant battle for me in my older age. One that I’m constantly working on. Sugar is my enemy…and I keep eating that crap.

August 27, 2009 at 4:54 pm
(12) Kris says:

Back on Jan 17th 2007, my husband took his first and last Nexium. He died of a massive heart attack about an hour after taking it.
Yes, heart problems were hereditary in his family, oddly enough he was never diagnosed with heart issues.

November 12, 2009 at 5:29 pm
(13) LEC says:

My Husband died 9/21/09 Same as Kris He never knew he had Heart problem for 7 yrs they have been treating his for GERD and he was on Nexium and prolsaic. June of 09 had his gallbladder remove think that was the problem .. Please everyone sould have a ultrasound on your heart to detect the hereditary. He was only 43yrs…..

November 18, 2009 at 9:13 am
(14) Vicky says:

I have been on nexium over 10 yrs. I was diagnosed pre-barretts esophagus. I cannot stop taking it. I wish I could stop. eating the right foods I am sure would help. But water gives me heartburn also…I do have slighted high blood pressure on and off. Some palpatations at times. But never put the two together. I don’t know what I should do…I am active and exercise on a daily basis. I am 64 yrs.

November 29, 2009 at 6:36 am
(15) Tammi says:

Ws put on steroids at 8 years of age. At 51 now get erosions on my esophagus and have nonmalignant tumors in my stomach. Have taken 40 mg of Nexium 2X a day for 7 years. Have always had low blood pressure(110/60) and low cholesterol. So did both of my parents. Also having rapid pounding heart, edema in feet and legs, shortness of breath and muscle cramps. 2 years I saw a cardiologist and had a holter monitor, ekg, and echocardiogram. All results were perfect! Was told I probably would not have to see a cariologist for at least 20 years! What happened? I have also recently been diagnosed with a heart murmur and mitral valve prolapse. You are either born with that or something causes it not from getting older. Something is causing my problems. I am calling the FDA on Monday(1-888-INFO-FDA) and file a complaint. Heart problems do NOT run in my family. I am so glad I found this ite. Good luck to all.

January 6, 2010 at 9:17 am
(16) Paul says:

In 2003 I started taking Nexium twice a day. I had a heart attack in December 2007. I have 3 heart stents and by-pass. I had no family history of heart problems and I now have heart problems. I strongly believe that my heart attack and heart problems have been casued by the Nexium drug.

July 14, 2010 at 6:52 pm
(17) J.L. says:

I took Prolosec for almost a year in ’09 and early ’10. The problem I took the medication for improved at first, then became worse than before the medication. In this time my resting heart rate went from the mid 50′s to the 80′s. For the first time in my life I had now have high blood pressure. I used to be mid 120′s over mid 70′s, now I run 150-180 over 95-120. I stopped over a month ago, and my heart rate has returned to near normal, but my blood pressure is still very high. I hope things go back to normal, but I am beginning to worry.

August 10, 2010 at 7:36 am
(18) Quiver says:

I have been on Nexium for three years now. It does stop me from getting heartburn as I have a hiatus hernia.

I now have an answer to what was causing my heart palpitations and increased heart rate. I went to doctors who did tests and more tests and simply could not tell me what the problem was.

I really need to get off this Nexium and possibly get surgery to sort this out once and for all.

October 20, 2010 at 11:48 am
(19) C says:

My husband was a healthy, 150 pound male 37 with no history of heart disease on either side of his family. He dropped dead two months ago and had only been taking Nexium.

Conclusion was Cardiac arrhythmia. This only normally occurs in athletes or people who inherit it. If your at all concerned about using this product, I would suggest you ask your doctor what the alternatives are.

October 25, 2010 at 12:59 pm
(20) Tom Tranby says:

Google Kangen water-has helped some to get off medications.

August 28, 2011 at 12:55 am
(21) Laura Kanieski says:

I am a 33 yr old female and I was prescribed Nexium 4 yrs ago when I was pregnant with my daughter to relieve symptoms of heartburn. After one month of taking it my bp was high but they thought it was just the pregnancy. After I had my baby, I tried to stop taking the Nexium but after 1 month the heartburn came back, this time with severe GERD. I am a chef and I eat healthy, well-rounded meals. I am still on the drug, and now my doc wants to put me on bp meds because my bp keeps getting higher and higher, the last reading was 149/95. I don’t have a history of heart problems in my family and I am convinced that taking Nexium, massive amts of tums and prilosec (when I’m out of Nexium) has everything to do with my bp problem. I am overweight and I suffer from a lack of exercise so due to the bp scare, I am going to try to get to a healthy wt, cut out caffeine and try not eating 4 hrs before bed. I really do think that maintaining a healthy weight and eating properly has everything to do with disease prevention of any kind. Good luck to all who suffer from the same problems I as I do!

September 7, 2011 at 8:46 pm
(22) Jane says:

I began taking omeprazol three weeks ago and soon after began having an irregular heartbeat. I am a 44 year old female who is active and a healthy weight. I ran two miles, four times aweek and walked a mile after each run. Last week during my run, I felt like a heavy weight was on my chest and I had chest pain. I haven’t ran in a week and am currently wearing a holter monitor to keep track of my heart beat. I haven’t taken omprazole for 6 days, but I am still having frequent PAC’s or otherwise called an irregular heartbeat. Has anyone else experienced a similar reaction to omeprazole or prilosec?

October 2, 2011 at 11:45 pm
(23) andrew says:

I began taking omeprazole about four months ago because of a stomach ulcer and though my stomach ulcer condition has improved, I’ve been having heart palpitaions that seem to be increasing in frequency day by day… scary cause I’m only 22 yrs old and never had any kind of health issue period… I’m now on ativan and celexa for anxiety that’s been induced by the palpitaions… what if all along its the generic prilosec that’s the root of all my problems

October 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm
(24) WC in Alberta 46 says:

i have been on Nexium for 2 years. my doctor never told me about the possible side effects of heart arrythmias etc. I have been hospitalized once with Tachycardia and have had numerous incidences of fibrillation/heart flutters/thumps whatever you want to call it. From all i have read the long term use of these drugs eliminate the body’s ability to absorb magnesium and calcium and other nutrients which help the body regulate electrolytes which all effect the nervous system including the brains ability to regulate heart rate. I’ve heard other people complaining of nervous system disorders ( numbness/tingling) due to these drugs. Must be something going on here for sure.

November 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm
(25) Frank says:

My pharmacist recommended Prilosec instead of Nexium. I have taken it off and on, about twice a week for the last 6 years. I don’t use it unless I have heartburn. Recently a doctor prescribed the Omeprazole. That’s the same thing as Prilosec. I took it daily for 15 days and felt worse generally, although there was no heartburn. My intuition said something was wrong so I flushed the rest of the Omeprazole down the toilet. As long as it was in the house I felt obliged to take it. It felt like a habit. In the future I may use Prilosec or maybe Omeprazole again, but only when needed, only when there is heartburn. Like another person who commented, I also started eating the wrong foods when I was taking Omeprazole on a daily basis.

December 2, 2011 at 7:44 am
(26) Sam says:

I have just been put on Nexium. I questioned the doctor about it possibly causing heart problems. Doctor denied any link. Three years ago I was put on Omeprazole. After 18 months on it I developed an irregular heartbeat. A ventricular arrhythmia (associated with sudden death). I have had VTach and AFib daily for almost a year. I questioned doctors about a link between Omeprazole and cardiac arrhythmias. Again they said no. I have no detected heart disease despite MRI, Angio, Echo etc. My ECGs change hourly. I have to go to Emergency an average of twice monthly. Next week I am having a cardiac ablation. It’s crazy. I have pain in the muscles of my lower legs.and ankle joint pain. I am a 41yr old female.

January 16, 2012 at 8:39 am
(27) Delores says:

I have been on Nexium, and Prisec before that, for GERD for a number of years. I have had an increasing problem with irregular heartbeat, palpitations. High stress and stimulants, like caffeine or ephedra/Sudafed, can cause me lots of problems with irregular heartbeat. I found out that Pepcid can cause irregular heartbeat–had been taking it at bedtime–so I quit it. Things are better, but I still have periods of irregular heartbeat–very distracting and anxiety provoking. Decided to Google Nexium and irregular heartbeat and after reading the comments here, have decided Nexium is the culprit. Have to do something else–heck, I’ve already taken today’s dose. Had an EKG last week in prep. for surgery and it showed an extra beat–the Tech. didn’t seem concerned, but I can’t help but think, over time this will cause heart changes–probably already has in my case.

April 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm
(28) Alan Platten says:

I have heart failure, the left side of my heart is virtually dead. I had a medium to large heart attack many years ago. I was repeating a lot so the specialist put me on Nexium. Around Christmas my breathing slowly went worse until I could walk no further than say 15 metres when I had to stop because of very heavy breathing.
I got very concerned and on mentioning the problem to my own doctor he took me off Nexium straight away and gave me Zantac.
Within 2 days my breathing went back to what is normal for me.
Clearly in my case Nexium was not suitable for my condition

May 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm
(29) Jess says:

My doctor put me on nexium to alleviate symptoms of gallbladder attacks. It worked for about a month. Then I began feeling lethargic and out of breath and my chest felt tight. About 2 weeks after that the heart palpitations began. They happened when I was resting for a long time and very relaxed, and also if I did intense activity. No symptoms during moderate activity yet. I asked my doctor about it and she said that the medication and heart problems are completely unrelated. So I continued taking it for another 2 weeks. By the end of that time the palpitations were frequent and i decided to do my own research on all possible medications and conditions that could cause them. Nexium came up as a possible cause ( low magnesium levels) so I stopped it. I immediately felt better, the palpitations slowly decreased in frequency from several times a day to maybe once a month. I’m currently seeing a cardiologist to make sure there is no permanent or dangerous damage done to my heart.
Don’t take this stuff, any of these types of drugs osemeprazole/nexium/Prilosec has obviously been linked to heart problems, from personal experience I reccomend you don’t take the chance with your heart health.

I Did get gallbladder surgery and am feeling a million times better in my digestion but i began getting heart burn soon after recovery. Im Not about to take any more medications for it.
I’m obese too but eating better and excersizing and not eating immediately before bed (or before a lying on the couch watching tv) has eliminated my heart burn. It’s also bringing my weight down which is better for your health all around. It sucks, a lot. I miss cheese….. but it’s better than a heart attack.
Good luck and deepest sympathy for the sufferers from this medication.

September 19, 2012 at 9:02 am
(30) superdrol cycle says:

Hi heartburn.about.com is cool i love to read your content

February 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm
(31) Elaine says:

Interesting reading. I don’t have cardiac symptoms, but a Nurse Practitioner friend told me today that at the hospital where she is employed the cardiologists always take the patients off PPIs (omeprazole/Prilosec) which is what had been routinely prescribed for many of the patients who are referred to them. FYI: if you have been on this type of med for a while and stop, you should expect a rebound effect, I.e., you’ll have reflux for a while until your body adjusts to the lack of suppression of the acid. Now what do I do about it myself? I have reflux only during the night lying down. The wedge pillow doesn’t seem to help.


March 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm
(32) MMNotz says:

My healthy and vibrant 39 year old husband with no history of any medical problems began to have some stomach issues to which his doctor placed him on Prilosec. He was on it for just shy of one month and suddenly his heart stopped beating. Yale Hospital concluded it was due to the Prilosec and a depletion of magnesium and potassium which caused the heart to stop and a blood clot to form. He is described as a “miracle” to have survived this type of heart attack. I am angry that the FDA and the drug manufacturer have been aware of these possible side-effects for over 2 years now, yet there is not a single warning about this.

My advice – drink fennel or ginger tea and stay away from these death pills.

May 18, 2013 at 4:45 am
(33) rheumatic heart disease says:

I drop a leave a response when I appreciate a article
on a blog or I have something to add to the conversation.
Usually it is triggered by the sincerness communicated
in the post I looked at. And after this post Will Prilosec
and Nexium Increase Your Risk of Heart Attacks?
. I was actually moved enough to drop a thought ;-) I do have
2 questions for you if it’s okay. Could it be simply me or do a few of these responses look like they are left by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are writing on additional sites, I’d like to follow you.
Would you list all of all your communal pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

August 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm
(34) Jim says:

I can guarantee that nexium (40 mg per day) causes irregular heartbeat (PVC’s). I can take the drug for 2 or 3 (day 1 and 2) days then stop and I will have PVS on day 4,5 and 6, then it will subside. I can do this at anytime that I have heartburn and the outcome is always the same.

Nexium causes heart rhythym problems, of this I am 100% certain.

August 31, 2013 at 1:27 pm
(35) Linda. Hartford says:

Well I went to my doctor yesterday for yearly exam and to get my prescription for nexium refilled. Shocked when she suggested I switch to another type I have been taking it for over 10 years, have afib had two heart ablasionxs but no one ever told me it could of been from nexium. Switch meds will have to wait and see . Why does it take so long for them to figure out that some meds are really bad for you?

March 11, 2014 at 5:26 am
(36) greg says:

My doctor prescibed me nexium last week when i visited him for my heart skipping a beat when waking up from sleep a couple nights in a row. The 2nd night i had asid reflux for the 1st time in my life.

Doc said heart was fine and ECG was normal. For the asid reflux he gave me a scrip for nexium. First two nights were fine. 3rd and 4th nights i now wake with a very fast heart rate. So im going to stop taking nexium and see if it stops.

May 17, 2014 at 6:43 am
(37) Christine Chiodo says:

I have been on Nexium for 3 years now. The first year was good – no acid reflux. Now…my heart skips beats…it races from time to time…I get strange pains in my stomach….I have irritable bowel. I pay attention to everything I eat. I have eliminated the high acids in my diet and fatty foods. I only eat wheat products and tons of vegetables. I never eat junk food like chips or sodas. I have never had heart problems and always had a healthy blood pressure. It now spikes significantly. I have never had bowel issues… now I do. I just don’t know what other steps I can take because once I stop taking the Nexium my heartburn comes back – even when I drink basic water!

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