Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) such as Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, Dexilant, and Aciphex have recently been associated with cognitive decline or dementia.

In a study published this month in Gastroenterology, 10,486 volunteers within the NIH-supported Alzheimer’s Disease Centers who were aged 50 years and older and had either normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment at baseline were followed over a 10 year period. Participants underwent neuropsychological evaluations and self-reported PPI use at two to six annual visits between 2005 and 2015.  The use of PPI’s was not associated with any significant decline in cognitive function.

In this large, prospective study of nurses no change in mental function associated with ongoing use of PPI was found.  Previous studies linking PPI use with dementia have not been confirmed.  The use of this class of medications should not be influenced by this concern but rather should be guided by the indication for their use, typically significant gastroesophageal reflux.

For a broader discussion of gastroesophageal reflux disease as well as the benefits and side effects of proton pump inhibitors, please review this video.

Raymond W. Phillips MD