Hip Fracture Risk Linked to Heartburn Pills
Sustaining a hip fracture could be up to 50 percent more likely if a woman takes commonly prescribed heartburn pills, says a study published in the British Medical Journal. According to CBC News, post-menopausal women who regularly take drugs for acid reflux and heartburn are at an elevated risk for suffering a debilitating hip fracture, and are 1.35 times more likely sustain damage.
That risk is heightened if a woman smokes. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, smokers are more than 1.5 times more likely to fracture their hip in a fall or other accident.
To reach their conclusions, lead author Hamed Kahlili and his team looked at data from 80,000 women who responded to a U.S. Nurses Health Study between 2000 and 2008. The women were asked how often they took heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors, along with their menopausal status, body weight, smoking habits and alcohol consumption. They were monitored every two years and asked whether they had suffered any hip fractures.
Women who took the drugs at least three or four times a week over the two-year period were found to sustain hip fractures at a rate 35 percent higher than their peers who took the drugs less often. This risk was eliminated after women stopped taking the pills, however.
The findings led researchers to conclude that proton pump inhibitors likely break down old bone tissue and reduce calcium levels.
Still, the overall risk of hip fractures was very low. Only one in 500 patients on the drugs would be likely to fracture their hip during the course of the year, Khalili said.