Yet another study is raising concerns about complications potentially associated with the use of Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors. This time, scientists writing in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases reported that patients taking the popular heartburn drugs were more likely to suffer from osteoporosis and osteopenia in the femur bones, conditions associated with an increased risk of hip fractures.
The labels for proton pump inhibitors, including Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid, already mention hip, wrist and spine fractures as possible side effects. This risk was first noted on the drugs’ labels in May 2010. An update issued by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration a year later indicated that the fracture risk was greatest among patients taking prescription proton pump inhibitors at high doses for a long period of time. Over-the-counter medications, such as Nexium 24 HR, did not appear to pose a similar danger.
This study compared 40 patents who were daily users of the drugs to another 40 who were not. The patients ranged in age from 21 to 45 years, and none had a previous history of hip fracture. All were followed for at least two years.
Significant differences in the mean femoral T-scores (a measure of bone density) between the user and non-user groups were observed. The exposed group also had significantly greater frequency of femoral osteoporosis and osteopenia than the control group.
“Overall, the results of this study showed that PPI use in subjects without risk factors of osteoporosis determined by the femoral T-score compared with the control group was associated with increased risk of developing osteoporosis and osteopenia in the femur bones,” the authors wrioe.
This is not the first study to suggest that regular, long-term use of proton pump inhibitors could pose serious risks. Earlier this year, two studies found that extended use of the drugs might increase a patient’s risk of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. Other research published in the past year also suggested that long-term use of Nexium and other medications in this class could accelerate blood vessel aging, or increase an individual’s risk for heart attack and dementia.
It should be noted that in most cases, medications like Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec are only approved for short-term use, ranging from about four to eight weeks. However, evidence suggests that many people are taking these drugs in the absence of a true medical need, and for much longer periods than what is recommended.
Bernstein Liebhard is offering free legal reviews to individuals who may have suffered serious kidney complications related to Nexium, Prevacid or Prilosec. To learn if you qualify to file a claim, please call (888) 994-8177.