Long-term use of common heartburn medications such as omeprazole, esomeprazole, and lansoprazole are associated with increased risk of fractures.
Korean researchers who analyzed 11 previous studies found that the consumption of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which reduce the production of stomach acid, is linked with a 29 percent higher risk of fracture.
The finding also showed that chronic users of these medications are at a 31 percent greater risk of developing hip fractures and a 54 percent heightened risk of vertebral fractures, according to the report published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine.
However, the scientists found no significant link between regular use of other common heartburn medications known as H2-receptor antagonists or H2 blockers such as Ranitidine and Famotidine and fracture.
"It is difficult to say uniformly what the absolute risk is because fracture risk shows many differences according to age, sex, race and ethnicity," said Chun-Sick Eom from Hallym University Hospital in Chuncheon.
"Clinicians should carefully consider their decision to prescribe PPIs for patients at elevated risk for fracture, especially women older than 65 years of age," the lead researcher added. "We recommend that drug doses be chosen thoughtfully with consideration of what is necessary to achieve desired therapeutic goals."
PPIs and H2 blockers have different effects on bone metabolism that may explain their unlike impact on fracture. Moreover, PPIs may interfere with the absorption of calcium in digestive tract as well as the process of new bone cell growth.