6th June 19:37
Antacid pills 'trigger allergies' (allergies diet allergy allergic down)
Antacid pills 'trigger allergies'
Indigestion tablets may trigger food allergies, according to a study by
scientists in Austria.
They carried out tests on around
300 people and found that those who took anti-acid pills were more
likely to suffer an allergic reaction.
Speaking at the World Allergy Organisation congress, they said the pills
may interfere with digestion.
This may cause food to enter the intestines before it is fully broken
down, triggering an attack.
Professor Erika Jensen-Jarolim and colleagues at the University of
Vienna gave half of the people in their study a drug call ranitidine,
which acts in the same way as indigestion tablets. The remaining
volunteers were given a dummy or placebo pill.
None of these people had reported any food allergies in the past.
They found that people taking the drug developed or showed signs of food
allergy symptoms. None of those in the placebo group showed any such
signs. Tests on mice have shown similar results.
The scientists said indigestion pills may reduce levels of gastric acid
in the stomach. This acid helps the stomach to break down food before it
enters the intestines.
They believe low levels of this acid may result in food entering the
intestines before it is broken down.
They believe the body's immune system then tries to attack the food,
triggering an allergic reaction.
The scientists said eating new types of food seemed to be particularly
risky. This is because the body builds up a tolerance to food that is
commonly consumed. However, problems may occur when people eat foods
that they haven't had before.
"Stick to the diet you know and don't try exotic foods and don't make
experiments," said Professor Jensen-Jarolim.
Allergies to food can range from mild rashes to potentially
life-threatening anaphylactic shocks.
"These findings are significant for those people at risk for a food
allergy," said Professor Jensen-Jarolim, "since 10% of the adult
population today is on antacids."
GlaxoSmithKline, which manufactures many leading indigestion remedies,
said it would examine the findings.
However, a spokeswoman said the company did not believe there were any
risks associated with taking its products.
"Our products have been through very extensive clinical trials and have
been approved by all the government regulatory bodies," she told BBC
"We are always alert to new research that comes into the market place
and if that poses any potential threat to consumers, then we will look
very closely at the research and act very quickly if we think we need
"However, many of our products have been in on the market for
20 odd years and this isn't something we have ever come across. We are
very surprised by these findings."