Heartburn Drugs May Increase Fracture Risk
December 28, 2006 3:19am CST
A study by Pennsylvania researchers has shown that elderly people who take heartburn drugs are more likely to fracture their hips. The medicines found to increase the risk of fractures include Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid and Protonix, the Los Angeles Times reported. The drugs are some of the most widely used heartburn stoppers in the United States, with combined annual sales of more than $10 billion, the newspaper said. "The perception is that the drugs are completely safe, and doctors dispense them without thinking too much about the risks and the benefits," said Dr. Yu-Xiao Yang of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Yang led the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Yang said physicians who prescribe the drugs should know the risks, prescribe the lowest possible dose and only use the drugs when they are really needed.