Using a technique known as "data diving," researchers at Stanford University looked through 3 million medical records and found that patients who take heartburn-reducing proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), like Prilosec or Nexium, have a higher instance of heart attacks. Nigham Shah, an assistant professor who worked on the study, points out that for those not at risk of a heart attack, the increased risk is amazingly low — from a 1 in a million chance to 1.2 in a million. But for those at a higher risk, Shah recommends discussing PPI use with a doctor.
Other researchers are not as convinced by the study. Dr. David Juurlink, a researcher at the University of Toronto, points out that the finding could be corollary — behavior that could make you reach for heartburn medicine, like bad diet, smoking, and drinking, could also put you at higher risk for a heart attack. The study did not find a correlation between heart attacks and another group of heartburn drugs called H2 blockers, which includes Pepcid and Zantac.