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Prescription Antacids May Increase Risk of Bone Fractures

By August 15, 2008

This Week's Medication News
Each week, Dr. Mike highlights the latest news about medications.

The long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for acid reflux (GERD) and peptic ulcers increases the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures, according to a study published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The study noted that people who used PPIs for five or more years had a 62% increased risk of hip fracture with even higher risk after seven or more years of exposure. However, short-term use of the PPIs did not appear to increase the risk of fracture.

PPIs, a class of antacid drugs often taken for an indefinite period of time, includes Aciphex, Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec and Protonix. The medications work by reducing the production of hydrochloric acid in your stomach, which also may affect the absorption of calcium in your small intestine.

Talk to your doctor if you are taking one of these drugs and are concerned that you may be at risk for osteoporosis or you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or you have had a fracture in the past. While PPIs are considered the best medications for treating severe acid reflux and peptic ulcers, you and your doctor should weigh the risks against the benefits of using one of these medications.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or in the Medication Forum.

Targownik LE, Lix LM, Metge CJ, et al. "Use of proton pump inhibitors and risk of osteoporosis-related fractures" Canadian Medical Association Journal 2008 179: 319-26. August 15, 2008.

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