Stopping the Burn Might Break a Bone

Proton pump inhibitors linked to increased risk of fracture

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) It's important to take care of your heartburn because it could lead to worse problems, including cancer. Doctors often give patients certain drugs for their heartburn. Yet, like many other drugs, heartburn medications can have some serious side effects.

Researchers found that a certain kind of heartburn drug - called proton pump inhibitors - is related to an increased risk of bone fractures. A second type of heartburn drug did not seem to increase patients' risk of fracture.

"Heartburn drugs may raise the risk of broken bones."

Chun-Sick Eom, M.D., M.P.H., from Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea, and colleagues set out to study the relationship between using heartburn drugs, like proton pump inhibitors and histamine 2 receptor antagonists and patients' risk of fracture. Patients taking proton pump inhibitors had a 29 percent increased chance of fracture.

Heartburn is not an uncommon condition, and many heartburn patients are prescribed proton pump inhibitors. The study's findings are important to public health, the authors write, because so many patients take proton pump inhibitors for their heartburn.

The authors warn doctors to be careful when prescribing these heartburn drugs, especially to people who already have an increased risk of fracture because of their age or other reasons.

The Study

  • They looked at more than 1,800 past studies, and ended up using 5 case-control studies, 3 nested case-control studies, and 3 cohort studies for their final analyses
  • Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors increased the risk of any fracture by 30 percent
  • Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors increased the risk of hip fracture by 34 percent
  • There was no significant increased risk of fracture among patients who took histamine 2 receptor antagonists
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 11, 2011
Last Updated:
May 26, 2011