Long term use of indigestion tablets increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, scientists have found.
Routinely taking the drugs, also known as proton pump inhibitors, increased the risk by 25%.
The research in the British Medical Journal used information on more than 200,000 people from three studies, starting in the 70s and 80s.
Participants were asked to update their health information every two years. They were also asked whether they used any PPIs on a regular basis from the early 2000s onward.
Around 10,000 people were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes over nine to 12 years.
Author Prof Changhua Zhang, of Yat-sen University in Shenzhen, China, said: “Given the heightened risk of diabetes, doctors should carefully weigh up the pros and cons of prescribing these drugs.”
Chronic acid reflux, the most common digestive health condition, affects around 20% of the UK population.
Another type of drug called H2 blockers, also used to curb the stomach’s acid production, increased the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by around 15%.
The risk of diabetes also went up the longer the blockers were taken for.
But the research does not prove the pills cause type 2 diabetes as those taking them may be at greater risk due to other factors such as lifestyle.