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Format: 04/24/2014
Format: 04/24/2014

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KDKA-TV: Antacids could pose risk for hip, thigh fractures

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

A lot of people take medicine to protect their stomach, but is this bad for the bones? 

Stomach acid reducers have been linked to an increased risk of hip and thigh fractures.

These are medicines for reflux, such as Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium called proton pump inhibitors and Pepcid, Tagamet, and Zantac, called H-2 blockers.

This is news to some doctors.

"I'm shocked because I hadn't heard of it yet," admits Allegheny General Hospital orthopedist Dr. Brett Smith

"It's a little alarming, that association," says AGH gastroenterologist Dr. Abhijit Kulkarni.

While the reason isn't clear, there are possibilities.

"Many medications alter bone metabolism and lead to osteoporosis, and it's probably along the same lines," surmises Dr. Smith.

"It might be a good idea to take a calcium supplement, maybe vitamin D, especially if you're a post-menopausal woman, if you're someone at risk of osteoporosis," suggests Dr. Kalkarni.

The study, presented at a conference, looked at almost 34,000 people taking these drugs, and more than 130,000 who weren't.

People with hip fractures were 30 percent more likely to be taking a proton pump inhibitor over two years.

And the risk of fracture was 18 percent higher for those taking H-2 blockers.

As your daily dose goes up, the risk goes up, too.

But keep in mind, the baseline risk is low, so even with the increase, the risk is still low. For that reason, prescribing just the least amount necessary for as short as possible is how this doctor will continue to approach things.

To read more, visit the KDKA-TV web site.

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