Heartburn pills may cause osteoporosis
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Drugs used by millions of patients to treat
indigestion and heartburn have been linked to an increased risk of the bone
Research shows that long-term use of indigestion drugs, called proton pump
inhibitors (PPIs), is linked with broken bones later in life, reports
( Osteoporosis is the silent disease that makes bones prone to fracture )
affects an estimated three million people in Britain. One in three women and one
in 12 men develop it at some point.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommends patients
use PPI drugs for two to four weeks for indigestion. They work by blocking the
action of cells called proton pumps, which produce stomach acid.
Although they are very effective, they should only be used for a short time to
get the condition under control. But patients with chronic heartburn have to
take them daily for up to two months.
The problem is many patients end up staying on the drugs permanently to keep
symptoms at bay.
It is not clear how the drugs might damage bones. But one theory is that by
blocking acid production they stop the body from absorbing calcium.
Two studies have raised fears over the drugs' effects.
In 2006, experts at the University of Pennsylvania found patients taking PPIs
for more than a year were 44 per cent more likely to suffer a hip fracture.
In 2008, a team at the University of Manitoba in Canada found a similar increase
in risk among those taking the drugs regularly for five years.
IANS / Times of India