Wednesday 1st February 2012 The Daily Telegraph
Heartburn Drugs Raise Women’s Risk of Hip Fracture by Third Over the counter indigestion drugs taken by millions of people to treat heartburn, acid reflux, or peptic ulcers may increase the risk of a hip fracture by a third. Research has shown that post menopausal women who take proton pump inhibitors such as Omeprazole and Lansoprazole are 35% more likely to suffer a broken hip. The risk rose according to how long the women had been taking the drugs; with those who had been taking them for six to eight years were found to be 50% more likely to suffer the fracture. US researchers have evidence of a significant association between PPI’s and hip fractures and that careful consideration should be given to prescribing the drugs for long time use as they are thought to interfere with the body’s absorption of calcium, weakening bones. The study published in the British Medical Journal of 80,000 nurses found that for every 2,000 post-menopausal women taking the drugs for a year, there would be more than four fractures, compared to three in the 2,000 not taking them. The risk of hip fracture among women who were regularly using PPI’s for at least two years was 35% higher. This held true even when factors such as exercise and calcium intake were considered. The risk returned to a normal level two years after the women stopped taking the PPI’s. Hamed Khalili the lead author at Massachusetts General Hospital wrote: “Our data suggests the importance of carefully evaluating the need for long term continuous use of PPI’s particularly in individuals with a history of smoking”. Last year there were almost 40 million prescriptions dispensed in England for PPI’s.
Gerry Gajadharsingh writes: We have suspected that for some time PPI’s may be causing some adverse problems and either affecting micronutrient absorption or utilisation, this study is, I am sure, the start of more research into this area. Whilst PPI’s are great drugs short term for conditions such as GORD (gastro-oesophygeal reflux disease, gastric ulcers etc), surely it makes sense that clinicians help patients understand the lifestyle factors that contribute to these conditions, therefore reducing the need for PPI’s in the first place.