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Proton pump inhibitors and gastrointestinal symptoms among patients with COVID-19 infection.

Annals of Medicine 2024 December
INTRODUCTION: The administration of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is anticipated to elevate an individual's susceptibility to enteric infections as a result of altering the gut flora. The influence of PPIs on the clinical manifestation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is still uncertain. This study aims to investigate the impact of PPI usage on the clinical manifestation of COVID-19, namely its gastrointestinal symptoms.

METHODS: This is a cross-sectional cohort study involving COVID-19 patients. Patients were interviewed using a predesigned questionnaire that asked about their demographics, clinical manifestations of COVID-19 infection, and the extent and type of PPIs in use. PPI usage was confirmed by reviewing patients' electronic medical records. The primary outcome was to establish any association between the use of PPI and the symptoms and clinical presentation of COVID-19.

RESULTS: Out of a total of 254 participants, 69 (27.2%) were considered PPI users. Patients who were on PPI medications reported a significantly lower rate of myalgia (27.5% vs 51.9%; p  = 0.0006) and heartburn (5.7% vs 15.6%; p  = 0.03) but had a significantly higher rate of abdominal pain (27.5% vs 13.5%; p  = 0.001) and diarrhoea (28.9% vs 14.5%, p  = 0.02) when compared to those who were not using PPIs. Patients on PPIs were also shown to have significantly higher odds of developing diarrhoea (OR 2.0, 95% CI: 1.08 to 3.93, p  = 0.02) and abdominal pain (OR 2.0, 95% CI: 1.22 to 3.93, p  = 0.03), but a lower risk of developing myalgia (OR 0.5, 95% CI: 0.3 to 0.9, p  = 0.02) when compared to non-PPI users.

CONCLUSION: This study shows that the use of PPIs could impact COVID-19 clinical presentation toward more gastrointestinal manifestations. Further studies investigating the link between other acid suppression medications and COVID-19 manifestations and severity should be carried out.

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