New Concerns over Suspected Link Between Nexium and Osteoporosis
A recently published study has given rise to new worries about the safety of popular heartburn medications such as Prilosec and Nexium, linking the drugs to an increased risk of developing bone loss and subsequent osteoporosis.
Reported in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, the findings represent the latest chapter in the ongoing controversy surrounding the class of pharmaceuticals known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which have already been alleged to cause kidney failure, disease and damage to many who have used them.
Study outlines elevated bone fracture risks
According to the team of Iranian scientists responsible for the study, individuals using Nexium or other PPI drugs in its class experienced a substantially higher risk of suffering fractures of the femur than those who did not take the medications. A greater danger of developing osteopenia and osteoporosis in the femur bones was also observed, yet another red flag to plague these highly popular heartburn treatments.
The research forming the basis of the report focused on the spine and femur bone mineral density levels of 80 patients, half of which took PPIs, half of which did not. The results indicated that those who used Nexium or similar medications on a daily basis underwent far more noteworthy changes in this measure of density than those who abstained. Furthermore, femoral osteopenia and osteporosis were markedly more common in the PPI group, though there was no similar level of bone loss affecting the spine.
Proton pump inhibitor concerns continue to grow
Recent years have been marked by growing alarm over the safety of PPI medications including Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec, starting with the 2010 decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to mandate a strengthening of the warning language used for these drugs so that the public would be aware of the link between their long-term use and serious side effects.
In late 2014, the FDA required the makers of PPIs to add warning labels to their drug packaging informing patients of the possible risk of serious kidney damage which could ultimately require transplant or ongoing dialysis treatments. These warnings are in line with an additional recent research study suggesting that those using Nexium and similar drugs experienced a 96 percent increase in the risk of suffering end-stage renal disease, and another which revealed a rise of between 20 and 50 percent in the danger of chronic kidney disease for users of PPIs over those who did not take the medications.
Litigation builds over Nexium side effects
It should come as no surprise that given the growing list of allegations related to the dangers posed by widely used heartburn medications, impacted individuals have chosen to file Nexium lawsuits against the makers of the pharmaceutical drugs. Many are alleging that the manufacturers negligently failed to warn doctors, their patients and the general public about known risks and that they deceptively marketed these formulations by touting their benefits and minimizing possible problems.
Some are also arguing that the drug makers did not conduct appropriate testing or post-market assessments of the products, placing the well-being of millions in jeopardy.
- International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, Proton pump inhibitors use and change in bone mineral density, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1756-185X.12866/abstract
- Medline Plus, Proton pump inhibitors, https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000381.htm
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Drug Safety Communication: Possible increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine with the use of proton pump inhibitors, http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm213206.htm
- NPR, FDA Warns About Bone Breaks And Heartburn Drugs, http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2010/05/26/127132723/fda-warns-about-bone-risks-from-heartburn-drugs