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Possible Increased Risk Of Fractures Of The Hip, Wrist, And Spine With The Use Of Proton Pump Inhibitors

Posted May 25 2010 6:02pm

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is revising the prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) labels for a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors to include new safety information about a possible increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine with the use of these medications.

Proton pump inhibitors work by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. Nexium, Dexilant, Prilosec, Zegerid, Prevacid, Protonix, Aciphex, and Vimovo are available by prescription to treat conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach and small intestine ulcers, and inflammation of the esophagus. Prilosec OTC, Zegerid OTC, and Prevacid 24HR are sold over-the-counter (OTC) for the treatment of frequent heartburn.

The new safety information is based on FDA’s review of several epidemiological studies that reported an increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine with proton pump inhibitor use. Some studies found that those at greatest risk for these fractures received high doses of proton pump inhibitors or used them for one year or more (see Data Summary section).The majority of the studies evaluated individuals 50 years of age or older and the increased risk of fracture primarily was observed in this age group.

While the greatest increased risk for fractures in these studies involved people who had been taking prescription proton pump inhibitors for at least one year or who had been taking high doses of the prescription medications (not available over-the-counter), as a precaution, the “Drug Facts” label on the OTC proton pump inhibitors (indicated for 14 days of continuous use) also is being revised to include information about this risk.

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