PITTSBURGH - If you often have heartburn, Prilosex, Nexium, Prevacid or similar drugs called proton pump inhibitors or PPIscan give you relief. They've been around since the late 1980s. And just now, doctors are seeing the first patients who have taken them long-term.
Studies show people who take PPIs twice a day, or for more than a year have a higher risk of broken bones, particularly the tip of the thigh bone and the wrist.
According To Dr. Blair Jobe, a surgeon at West Penn Hospital Hospital in Pittsburgh, "we've seen things like osteoporosis, vitamin and mineral malabsorption, such as magnesium and calcium, interactions with other drugs."
He says, so far, no studies show that PPIs are linked to these health problems, but it's reasonable to consider whether patients should be on them long term.
Alternatives to PPIs include medicines to coat the stomach, drugs called h-two blockers, or surgery.