Losec linked to tummy bugs

  • 06/01/2017
medicines spilling from bottle
The research was published in the prestigious British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (Getty)

A common prescription medication has been linked to an increased risk of nasty gastro bugs and gut infections.

Known commonly by the brand name Losec, omeprazole is the third-most prescribed drug in New Zealand. It's commonly used to treat reflux, peptic ulcers and other stomach acid conditions.

According to new research published on Thursday in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, people taking acid suppression medications like Losec or Omezole are at almost twice the risk of developing a c.difficule infection, which affects the colon, and were at almost four times the risk of campylobacter.

Campylobacter are bacteria commonly transmitted after handling undercooked meat, shellfish or raw or contaminated milk. It was the bug behind the Havelock North water contamination crisis, and was recently found to be present - in low concentrations - in most store-bought chickens.

"Users of these medications should be particularly vigilant about food hygiene," advised Professor Thomas MacDonald, senior author of the study.

He said that by removing stomach acid, users were more at risk of being infected with the bacteria.