John Smith, PAGB Chief Executive comments:
“The authors of the study have outlined several limitations which need to be considered. The study didn’t assess the effect of body mass index, smoking or alcohol use, because of poor registration data. In addition, only one semen sample was analysed per patient and therefore variation in semen quality couldn’t be accounted for. Finally, as all patients who received a prescription for PPIs reported gastrointestinal symptoms, the authors couldn’t exclude that the observations could have been caused by the gastroesophageal reflux disease itself.
“The study focused specifically on prescription data, rather than PPIs available over-the-counter (OTC), which are only intended for short term use. All OTC medicines in the UK are rigorously assessed for safety and efficacy before they are given a licence by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and once on the market, their safety is continually monitored in light of any emerging evidence.
“We would advise anyone who is concerned about the use of PPIs to speak to their pharmacist in the first instance. Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals and can provide useful information and advice on over-the-counter medicines.”