Risks Of Some Stomach Drugs May Outweigh Benefits

Medications that help to control stomach acids, so called proton pump inhibitors have now been associated with a number of problems, significant enough to call into question their very use.

Drugs such as AstraZeneca PLC’s Nexium (available by prescription) and Prilosec and Prevacid (available over the counter) are used to treat several stomach and esophagus related problems including ulcer, acid reflux, heartburn etc. They are often over prescribed and are taken for relatively mild problems such as indigestion.

Taking these drugs is now associated with an increased risk of fractures among post menopausal women, and higher rates of bacterial infections as well as per  Archives of Internal Medicine.

The possible explanation offered for this phenomenon is that these drugs suppress stomach acids and consequently interfere in the absorption of calcium; which consequently leads to increased risk of fractures particularly of the forearms and spine.

The use of the drug is also associated with a bacterial infection called C. diff, responsible for causing severe diarrhea.

While the drugs are effective and should be taken when indicated, over use should be avoided. Also they should not be used for minor conditions.

Source: WSJ