Regular use of proton-pump inhibitors and risk of stroke: a population-based cohort study and meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials

Man Yang, Qiangsheng He, Fang Gao, Krish Nirantharakumar, Tonny Veenith, Xiwen Qin, Amy T. Page, Martin C. S. Wong, Junjie Huang, Zi Chong Kuo, Bin Xia, Changhua Zhang, Yulong He, Wenbo Meng, Jinqiu Yuan, Yihang Pan

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Background: Although randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have suggested a non-significant increased risk of stroke among proton pump inhibitor (PPI) users, the association has not been confirmed. We evaluated the association between regular use of PPIs and incident stroke and identified population groups at high net risk.

Methods: This is a prospective analysis of 492,479 participants free of stroke from the UK biobank. Incident stroke was identified through linkage to hospital admission and death registries using the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 codes (I60, I61, I63, and I64). We evaluated hazard ratios (HRs) adjusting for demographic factors, lifestyle habits, prevalent comorbidities, concomitant use of medications, and indications of PPIs. We assessed the risk differences (RDs) according to the baseline Framingham Stroke Risk Score. In the meta-analysis, we searched PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (from 1988 to 1 June 2020) for randomized trials comparing PPIs with other interventions, placebo, or no treatment on stroke risk. Results were combined using a fix-effect meta-analysis (Mantel-Haenszel method).

Results: We documented 5182 incident strokes over 3,935,030 person-years of follow-up. Regular PPI users had a 16% higher risk of stroke than non-users (HR 1.16, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.27). The estimated effect was similar to our meta-analysis of nine RCTs (case/participants 371/26,642; RR 1.22, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.50; quality of evidence: moderate). The absolute effect of PPI use on stroke increased with the baseline Framingham Stroke Risk Score, with an RD of 1.34‰, 3.32‰, 4.83‰, and 6.28‰ over 5 years for the lowest, quartile 2, quartile 3, and the highest quartile, respectively.

Conclusions: Regular use of PPIs was associated with an increased risk of stroke, with a higher absolute risk observed in individuals with high baseline stroke risk. Physicians should therefore exercise caution when prescribing PPIs. An assessment of the underlying stoke risk is recommended for individualized use of PPIs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number316
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2021


  • Proton pump inhibitor
  • Stroke
  • Cohort
  • Meta-analysis
  • Randomized control trial


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