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Heartburn Drugs Associated with Hip Fractures

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Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are stomach-acid blocking drugs used by millions of people with frequent heartburn. They include such brand names as Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec.  Recently, these drugs been linked with an increase in hip fractures in people over 50.

A study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania showed that people who took high doses of these drugs had  a 44% increased incidence of hip fracture compared to people not taking PPIs. And the risk increased with each year of use. Those taking a PPI for over a year had more than 3 times the risk of hip fracture.   (Those taking these drugs for no more than two months were not considered at risk.)

PPIs increase fracture risk because they block the absorption of calcium, which requires stomach acid to be adequately absorbed, according to Yu-Xiao Yang, MD, the study’s lead author. People taking PPIs need to work with their doctor to make sure they are getting enough calcium, both from dairy products and from calcium supplements, says Dr. Yang .(Yang, Y., et al JAMA 2006 Dec 27; 296(24):2847-53.)

But the front line of defense for heartburn is prevention. Following certain dietary guidelines and lifestyle habits may help you avoid heartburn and the need for medication.  The National Heartburn Alliance suggests eating smaller meals more often, and to avoid or cut back on coffee, citrus juices, soda and alcohol. Fatty foods and chocolate are also culprits, as are hot spices. A complete list of offending foods is at their website, www.heartburnalliance.org )

Heartburn has also been linked to being overweight, smoking and wearing too tight waistbands. It’s a serious condition and it’s important to seek solutions for it. But before taking medicine, you may want to consider healthy lifestyle changes and avoid drug complications!

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2 responses to “Heartburn Drugs Associated with Hip Fractures”

  1. […] Doubled risk of hip fracture (because the drug blocks the absorption of bone-strengthening calcium). […]

  2. […] some research suggests that individuals taking acid blocking medications for more than five years increase their fracture risk by more than 60%! Although not all research shows levels of risk that high, it is clearly […]