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Bad to the Bone: Acid stoppers appear to have a downside

Popular heartburn pills taken to block the production of stomach acid seem to increase the risk of hip fractures in older people, according to an analysis of medical records.

Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), available by prescription or over the counter, include drugs such as Prilosec and Nexium. They are more potent than other medications such as Zantac or Pepcid that suppress acid production through a different biological mechanism.

Earlier studies had hinted at an increased risk of broken bones among PPI users. To explore that possibility, researchers tapped into a British database of medical records and identified 13,556 people age 50 or older who had suffered a broken hip. The scientists also scanned the records of roughly 135,000 people in that age group who hadn't had such an injury. The researchers noted who had used PPIs, Zantac-type heartburn drugs, or neither type of medication.

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