Thursday, August 14, 2008

Can Acid Reflux Drugs Increase the Risk of Fractures?

What did the study show? A recent study from Canada suggest that certain drugs, called PPI's (Proton Pump Inhibitors), can cause a loss in bone mass, which can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures.

... And not a small increase. The study showed that the risk can be 450% greater for those who were on a PPI for more than 7 years. (And a 150% increase for those on the drugs for 5 years or more). So somewhere after 5 years, the risk becomes very significant according the the findings.

Which drugs are PPI drugs? Drugs like Nexium, Prilosec, Aciphex, Protonix, and Prevacid.

How much are these drugs used? Last year, sales for these drugs topped $14 billion. That is billion with a "B". There were over 180 million prescriptions.

Why are these drugs given? For bleeding ulcers, acid reflux, heartburn.

Sources:
Targownik, L. CMAJ, Aug. 12, 2008; vol 179: pp 319-326.
Richards, J. CMAJ, Aug. 12, 2008; vol 179: pp 306-307.

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