Gastric acid drug lansoprazole may also treat tuberculosis

London: Are you in the habit of consuming lansoprazole, a cheap and easily available gastric acid suppressant to cure heartburn, gastritis conditions and ulcers? Take heart, as such drugs can also keep you away from developing bacterial infections, especially tuberculosis.

People who use lansoprazole to prevent conditions of acidity in the stomach are a third less likely to develop tuberculosis, a new study found.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, stated that lansoprazole and similar drugs omeprazole or pantoprazole could work against the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, said to be one among the top ten infectious diseases that can even lead to death in severe cases.

“It would be a major breakthrough to find a new drug with useful activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis and a favourable side effect profile — particularly a drug like lansoprazole, which costs pennies,” said Tom Yates, researcher at the University College London.

“Laboratory, animal and now epidemiological data are all consistent with lansoprazole acting against the bacteria that cause tuberculosis. While it is too early to say whether lansoprazole can be used to treat tuberculosis, we think there is a strong case for further study.”

The researchers compared the people who take lansoprazole with those who consume omeprazole or pantoprazole just to check whether lansoprazole was more effective in killing Mycobacterium tuberculosis, while other drugs in the same class had no effect.

The findings showed that among all the people using lansoprazole, there were 10 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 person, compared to 15.3 cases among those using omeprazole or pantoprazole.