Increased Risk of COVID-19 Among Users of Proton Pump Inhibitors

Am J Gastroenterol. 2020 Oct;115(10):1707-1715. doi: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000000798.


Introduction: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) increase the risk for enteric infections that is likely related to PPI-induced hypochlorhydria. Although the impact of acid suppression on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is unknown thus far, previous data revealed that pH ≤3 impairs the infectivity of the similar severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 1. Thus, we aimed to determine whether use of PPIs increases the odds for acquiring coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among community-dwelling Americans.

Methods: From May 3 to June 24, 2020, we performed an online survey described to participating adults as a "national health survey." A multivariable logistic regression was performed on reporting a positive COVID-19 test to adjust for a wide range of confounding factors and to calculate adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: Of 53,130 participants, 3,386 (6.4%) reported a positive COVID-19 test. In regression analysis, individuals using PPIs up to once daily (aOR 2.15; 95% CI, 1.90-2.44) or twice daily (aOR 3.67; 95% CI, 2.93-4.60) had significantly increased odds for reporting a positive COVID-19 test when compared with those not taking PPIs. Individuals taking histamine-2 receptor antagonists were not at elevated risk.

Discussion: We found evidence of an independent, dose-response relationship between the use of antisecretory medications and COVID-19 positivity; individuals taking PPIs twice daily have higher odds for reporting a positive test when compared with those using lower-dose PPIs up to once daily, and those taking the less potent histamine-2 receptor antagonists are not at increased risk. These findings emphasize good clinical practice that PPIs should only be used when indicated at the lowest effective dose, such as the approved once-daily label dosage of over-the-counter and prescription PPIs. Further studies examining the association between PPIs and COVID-19 are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / statistics & numerical data
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / physiopathology
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Gastric Acid / metabolism*
  • Gastric Mucosa / drug effects
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology
  • Health Surveys / statistics & numerical data*
  • Heartburn / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / physiopathology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Young Adult


  • Proton Pump Inhibitors