Taking a common acid reflux drug regularly has been found to significantly increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, researchers have said.

A study carried out in China has found evidence to suggest that proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 24% if they are taken for at least two years.

Jinqiu Yuan, from the Seventh Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University in Shenzhen, said: “Regular proton pump inhibitor use was likely to be associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, particularly for those with prolonged use.

“Owing to its wide usage, the overall number of diabetes cases associated with proton pump inhibitor use could be considerable.”

PPIs are among the top 10 most commonly used drugs around the world and are used to treat acid reflux, peptic ulcers, and indigestion.

Previous research has found the medication can lead to an increased risk of bone fractures, chronic kidney disease, gut infections and stomach cancer.

This most recent study involved analysing more that 204,000 people who were taking PPIs. When the trial began none of them had type 2 diabetes, but every two years the participants were asked whether they had been diagnosed with the condition.

Over the course of between nine and 12 years, 10,105 participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers said that for regular PPI users the type 2 risk was heighted by 24% when compared to those who did not take the drug.

The longer these drugs were taken, the risk of developing diabetes became greater, which is why the research team those who take PPIs long-term should be regularly screened for type 2 diabetes.

The findings of the study have been published in the Gut journal.

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