Using acid suppressive medications, such as proton pump inhibitors and histamine2 receptor antagonists, may increase the risk of developing pneumonia, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Acid suppressive drugs are the second leading medication worldwide, totaling over $26 billion in sales in 2005.

A systematic literature review, incorporating all relevant studies on the association of acid suppressive medications and pneumonia that could be identified to August 2009, showed that out of every 200 inpatients being treated with acid suppressive medication one will develop pneumonia.

According to the researchers, since 40% to 70% of hospitalized patients receive these drugs, it may mean that deaths from hospital-acquired pneumonia could be caused by acid suppressive medications. They warn that the impact of acid suppressive medication on community-acquired pneumonia could be much greater.

The researchers caution physicians to use caution when prescribing acid suppressive medication, especially in patients with a high risk of developing pneumonia.

Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal