The popular class of antacids that includes Aciphex, Dexilant, Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, and Protonix increases the risk of C. diff infection and bone fracture, new studies find.
The drugs all are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), the most powerful class of antacid drugs. It’s the third highest-selling class of drugs in the U.S. Each year, doctors write 113.4 million prescriptions for the drugs. Two, Prevacid and Prilosec, are available without prescription.
The drugs do a great job of reducing stomach acid. They’re not only far more powerful than simple antacids (such as Maalox, Rolaids, and Tums) but also reduce stomach acid more than the H2RA drugs Axid, Pepcid, Tagamet, and Zantac.
PPIs are supposed to be used only for serious conditions, but often they are taken for simple heartburn. Moreover, doctors tend to overprescribe PPIs for hospitalized patients. What’s the harm?
More than many patients should risk, according to a series of articles in the May 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.