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Older Women Face Hip Fracture Risk from PPIs

Feb 1, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

Post-menopausal women, especially if they smoke, might want to think twice about taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to relieve heartburn.  According to a new study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), post-menopausal women who take PPIs like Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid for two years or more increase their risk of sustaining a hip fracture by 35 percent.

The study also found that women who took the PPIs for six to eight years were 50 percent more likely to suffer a broken hip. Postmenopausal women with history of smoking who took PPIs for longer than two years had more than a 50 percent chance of sustaining a hip fracture. The researchers suggest that the inhibition of calcium absorption from smoking may act with PPIs to increase fracture risk.

The risk of hip fracture returned to normal two years after women stopped taking proton pump inhibitors, the researchers said.

The study, conducted by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, involved data on nearly 80,000 U.S. women enrolled in the Nurses Health Study between the ages of 33 and 55.  A total of 893 hip fractures were recorded during the time period the women were followed.    According to the research team conducting the study, the use of PPIs among the women followed increased nearly 3-fold from 2000 to 2008 among the women in the study, from 6.7% to 18.9%.

The BMJ study is just the latest to point to an association between PPIs and fractures.  In May 2010, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced new information on fractures was being added to the labels of prescription PPIs after a review of several epidemiological studies reported an increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine with PPI use.

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