Prevacid, Nexium Side Effects Linked to Increased Bone Fracture Risk: Study

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The findings of a recently released study indicate that women taking Nexium, Prilosec and other popular acid-fighting medications may face an increased risk of bone fractures. At the same time, another study appears to confirm beliefs that the drugs can increase a person’s susceptibility to bacterial infections. 

The bone fracture study was conducted by the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy, and published May 10 in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers looked at the rate of bone fractures in post-menopausal women who take AstraZeneca’s Nexium, Takeda Pharmaceutical’s Prevacid or Pfizer’s Protonix.

All of the prescription ulcer drugs are in a class of medications known as proton pump inhibitors, which also includes Proctor & Gamble’s over-the-counter drug, Prilosec. The prescription drugs pull in about $14 billion in U.S. sales each year, and many are prescribed for indigestion and heart burn, although with the exception of Prilosec, they are only approved for treatment of ulcers, acid reflux disease and erosive esophagitis.

There were about 119 million prescriptions for proton pump inhibitors in the U.S. last year. In an editorial accompanying the study, Dr. Mitchell H. Katz of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, estimated that as many as 69% of proton pump inhibitor prescriptions were written for “off-label” uses, which have not been approved as safe and effective by the FDA. Dr. Katz said that when the average person learns about the potential risks, they will not be as likely to take them unless absolutely necessary.

Researchers looked at 161,806 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79 years old with no history of hip fractures. The data was gleaned from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study and Clinical Trials. The findings indicate that women who took the medications were 25% more likely to suffer a bone fracture over an 8-year period than women who did not, however researchers were unable to find any changes in bone density between the two groups.

In the same issue of the medical journal, researchers found an increased risk of bacterial infection for people taking proton pump inhibitors as well. In that study, researchers looked at the records of about 102,000 patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and found that those taking drugs like Nexium and Prevacid had 74% more cases of Clostridium difficile infections.

The drugs contain warnings that the reduction of stomach acid may allow bacteria to grow and slightly increase the risk of infection.

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  1. Denis Reply

    I started taking prescribed Prilosec in about 2000. At about the same time I suffered the first of many bacterial pneumonias that continued through this past January. In October 2008 I was in ICU for four days and almost died from one of these pneumonias. This re-occuring illness has cost me my profession and thousands of dollars, etc. Throughout the years my MDs could not determine what has caused these pneumonias. The makers of this drug had to have know the side effects including the bacterial pneumonias long before this study was released. I went to a local store last week where this drug is sold OTC. There are no warnings or precautions regarding Bacterial Pneumonias listed on the packaging.

  2. Shannon Reply

    Just great I have been taking these meds for some years now! I recently broke a bone to april 2nd 2010

  3. Sharon Reply

    I’ve been taking Nexium for years, and for the last 2 years have suffered severe and constant pain and deterioration in my hips. Pain shots and meds do not help. What resources and/or lawsuits are available?

  4. Carolyn Reply

    I have taking Prilosec for over ayear and since that time I have broken both my hips, once in Sept. of o9 an the rt in Apr. of 10 . I am still on walker from the rt. hip. I quit the drug toda after checking The internet.Don,t know if thiss was the cause, but it sounds trifle suspicious. I am going back to tums and see if that helps my nervous stomach, I need the extra calcium anyway. Hope this note puts some light on the subject,

  5. Claudia Reply

    I have been taking Prilosec regularly for about 2 years and recently, 4/18/10 dislocated and broke 3 bones in my right ankle. I have never before had a broken bone. Can’t help but wonder……?

  6. Terri Reply

    Ive been taking Prilosec for a couple of years now and March 15 2010 I broke my right wrist radius in 4 places and the doctors removed 12 fragments that couldnt be fixed
    Prilosec has know for years that their product could cause bones to be brittle but its all about greed and not the safy of us taking the drug.

  7. Joseph Reply

    Been taking Nexium for years and have recently had a spine injury and suffer servere pain in my back and neck. What advise /and or lawsuits are availiable?

  8. Kathy Reply

    I have been on Prilosec for about 5 years and just recently I have been having hip problems, x-ray’s show nothing, Dr. said that it was probably arthritis but that didn’t show up on x-ray. Don’t know what else to do, the prilosec isn’t working any longer, I am having bad reflux again.

  9. Robert Reply

    I have been taking Prilosec every day since 1988, when it was first available. I was 19 and am now 41. Both ankles hurt, right wrist hurts, right shoulder hurts, hips hurt. I am probably screwed.

  10. DENVER Reply

    i have had to fractures in my spine in just this last year. i had one surgery on my T-5 in jan 2010. Had my second one on my T-7 in March 2010. I have been taking nexium 40mg bid for years. i do get bacterial pneumonias ever so often also. they did not know what was causing my pneumonias but thought it might be the nexium also, plus the fractures. Could yoiu look into this matter and let me know more.

  11. Barbara Reply

    Easter, April 4, 2010, after taking prilosec for months for GERD and stomach problems, I fell on my patio and broke the large bone in my lower left arm plus several wrist bones. Two surgeries later (one in ER and one a week later) have put me back together but it will be at least the end of summer before I can pick up more than 2 lbs. with my left arm (I am left-handed and a professional writer, so this has been really painful and inconvenient.

  12. Patricia Reply

    My son David was diagnosed with GERD after receiving chemotherapy and many other drugs for Leukemia. He underwent a voluntary study at Childrens Hospital Detroit where he was diagnosed and prescribed Nexium, since it seemed to work for this problem he continued taking it. While in the fifth grade David broke his wrist and wore a cast for awhile and in the sixth grade he broke his wrist again. His wrist now clicks when he moves it and when he leans on it, it goes numb. He is now 17 years old and has been off of Nexium for about 2-3 years and continues to have Gastro problems constantly, did this product really work?

  13. Caroline Reply

    Over ten years ago when I was diagnoised acid reflux my physican prescribed me with Prilosec. Not sure of what year it was changed to Prevacid, the to Nexium. I have broken both my feet, one foot in 2004 and the other foot seven months later in 2005 .

  14. Simone Reply

    Have taken three of the named prescriptions and others over the past fifteen years or more. In 2008 I fractured a bone in my right foot and ultimately surgery was required to remove it. My foot will never be the same.

  15. TMLasiter Reply

    I have been taking Prevacid 30 mg. my specialist prescribed for me about ten years now. I can’t skip a dose without experiencing extreme pain in my digestive system once the missed dose reaches about 6 hrs. of being past due. If the dose is not taken within a short amount of time from the onset of the pain it may take as long as 24 hours for the pain to subside once the Prevacid has once again gotten back into my stomach. My understanding of discontinuing this drug would be going the way of a surgery which I have been warned by a registered nurse for the type of surgery this is that I am already a little too old for the procedure, I am 59. Now that Prevacid is OTC I haven’t even seen the doctor I used to see for this problem for over a year now. This was just another very heavy rock of disappointment and depression in my already full bucket of health problems. Doctors are doing everything they can to drop Medicare patients now anyway. I require pain medication just to survive. Once there are no doctors willing to provide service I don’t know what my options are going to be. Funny thing is no one cares.

  16. Terrence Reply

    I had acid reflux for years every time I ate and the doctors said there was nothing that could be done to cure me so I should just take OTC,s. I found a cure online by searching natural cures for indigestion. First eat an apple every day and chew your food real good. Second cut out fried foods, fast foods, stress, saturated fats and so on.
    I also cracked a rib several years ago and it still bothers me now after a long day at work and I get infections easily. Several lately required antibiotics to stop it from entering my blood stream. I’m happy to know that I quit using the OTC’s a few years ago but now I’m afraid the damage has been done weakening my immunity and bone structure.

  17. John Reply

    I have been taking either Prevacid or Nexiium, for a number of years now and in Feb. of 2009, I fell and broke my wrist quite severely. I also get sinus infections quite often.

  18. Nancy Reply

    I am 59,I have been taking Nexium for about 6 years.I am writing today because I have been having pain in my left side today and previous in my right side.As well I have been experiencing sharp pain in my ankles and feet from time to time.Always fatigued and not able to loose weight .I am going to stop taking this medication asap.I will deal with my Gerd some other way.This medication was supposed to help not harm me.I will get a bone density test asap to see just how much damage has been done.

  19. Rene Reply

    I turned 63 Dec. 2009. In Jan2010 I fell and broke my hand. InMay
    2010I fell and broke my foot.Have been onPrilosec/Prevasid many years.

  20. Ellis Reply

    I have been taking Prilosec and then Nexium for over 15 years. In December of 2006 I broke my right hip which was repaired using screws. In April of 2007 I had a second opinion on my hip. It was not healing properly and required a full hip replacement. In the pre op testing it was determined that I need a four way heart bypass which was done in May 2007. In August 2007 I finally had my right hip replaced. Since that operation back surgery in July 2008 and I had my left hip repladed in August 2009.

  21. linda Reply

    april of 2009 i took a fall which resulted in broken foot ,broken wrist, broken shoulder- i finally was released from therapy at the end of december 2009- i have taken nexium for at least 5 years and think that the reason that so many bones were broken was the nexium

  22. jeffb Reply

    i was only 32 years of age and in great health never had a broken bone in my life . i started taking prevacid 30 mgs a day for reflux disease and it worked for that after a few i started having major aches and pains a few months later i broke 3 bones in my foot walking on my job as a department manager for a big box store. a short time later i broke my wrist playing with my dog in the yard made no sense i was allways astrong healthy man i have had soo many issues since broken ribs my spine is messed up 4 out of 7 days average tired of taking painkillers

  23. Richard Reply

    i have been having pain in my lower back and the pain is going down my legs and feet.
    I do have a MRI show: i send my MRI report and picture to the Jeanette Porter of skyview orthopedic associates said: the bulges at L3-4, 4-5 & L5-S1 shows foraminal narrowing at L3-S1 which the radiologist feels is due to the disc bulges.
    date 5/26/2010 MRI there is a minimal bulge seen on the sagittal images at T11-12 that causes some mild attenuation of the central A-P dimension of the canal. there may be some minimal bulges at L4-5 and L5-S1 there are no focal disc herniations and otherwise no canal stenosis at the lumber spine. there does appear to some mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowir at L4-5 and L5-S1 and possibly also at L3-4 possibly from mild disc bulges. from my doctor report sacral regions: tenderness and tissue texture changes are noted bypalpation in the affected areas, assymetry and segmental motion resriction are noted on the foward flexion test (TART) displays antalgic gait on the affected side. additional changes were noted in the thoracic, lumber and sacral regions.
    i am taking docusate sodium 100mg, glipizide5mg 3 time a day, magnesium oxide 400mg, nexium 40mg, potassium citrate 10meq, sucrakfate 1gm, tramadol hcl 50mg, ct cervical spine small bony densities seen along the anteroinferior aspect of c2, c4, c5, and c6 which are probably related to the anterior longitudinal ligament or could reflect developmental changes. tiny nodule in the midpole of the left lobe of the thyroid gland of questionable significance.test the thyroid nodule: finding: the right thyroid lobe measures 4.2 cm in length and 1.6x 1.9cm cross-section for a volume of 5.9cc. the left thyroid lobe 4.1 cm in length and 0.0 x 1.7 cm cross-section for a volume of 3cc, the isthmus measures 3mm in thickness. the thyroid gland is homogeneous in echotexture, no focal nodules are seen. impression: unremarkable thyroid ultrasound. Nexium cause me get a heart test that i was not in need off. before the heart test my kidneys was not working good this may be caused of Nexium.

  24. Anon Reply

    About a year after I started taking these acid reducing pills I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia. No one in my family had ever had these diseases, and I used to be as healthy as a horse until I started taking these acid reducing pills. It has been now about a decade that I have been taking these pills, and my health is worse than ever, as I now have Diabetes & high blood pressure, even though I eat relatively healthy and exercise. I can’t help but think these pills did this to me, as I have always wondered why I came down with all these illnesses when I come from such a healthy family and background. As of today I am no longer going to take these pills and I only hope I can find a natural way to deal with the stomach acid. I am now on a low-carb regimen, have stopped eating anything with flour, sugar or that is fried, and am drinking plenty of milk. I just hope this works, and I hope someone files a class action lawsuit we can all join to make these drug companies pay for what they did to us.

  25. Julie Reply

    I have been taking Prevacid 30 mg for several years, due to chronic acid reflux. Without it I can’t go a day without discomfort, although I often think it is more in my head than my gut. But for the past few years, I have had severe foot and ankle pain which had been affecting my work. And, on September 8, I got knocked down by the neighbor dog’s tie out rope and broke and dislocated my left ankle, and required surgery on 9/17/10 to put a plate and screws to repair it. I am devastated, I have no health insurance, and am now most likely going to lose my job because of the time frame of the recovery. I will not be able to bear weight on this ankle for some time yet, and even when I do, my job is mostly standing. What do I do to recover this loss?

  26. Donald Reply

    I have been taking nexium about five years and I broke my wrist completely all bones. Also I was getting out of my lounge chair and broke my foott just by getting up. Also I am having problems with my left hip bone when I walk. Has anyone else had this problem?

  27. Joan Reply

    Answering Donalds post from October 12 -2010 Sorry to here about your wrist and foot. I have been haveing a lot of hip pain that goes down into my groin and I can hardley walk. I was on Prevacid for several Years now I’m on Nexium and been on that for about three years now. And I have noticed a lot of bone and joint pain.

    I just found out about a bulging disk in my neck and some disk in my back
    and my Doctor is talking surgury. And I never had these problems untill I was put on these medications. My left ankle keeps snaping and locking up in a lot of pain I blame it on this medicine.

    Plus I just found out that with the Nexium it can cause Bacteria to build up and I done been treated with several Bacteria Infections. I just looked into some research and got a lawyer he is taking the case.
    Check into It because I think this drug companies are getting away with too much and I feel If there Drug does me damage they shoud pay.
    Good Luck to you .

  28. Patti Reply

    After 2 months of chronic diarrhea and a 22 pound weight loss, thousands of dollars in testing and a drug that cost $1500.00 per month I was diagnosed with microscopic colitis due to Prevacid. This was the absolute worse. I had no control over my bodily functions. The drug is clearing the problem up. I have been informed I will live with this the balance of my life. DO NOT TAKE PREVACID!

  29. Kim Reply

    II have been taking nexium for many year. I had my hip replaced . A disectomy with fusion. Stress fractures of my feet. Wrist fracture .

  30. Naim Reply

    All my life I have had severe acidic stomach that gave me unbelievable problems. I used to take various remedies such as Tums and liquid antiacid, but not effective. Many years ago when the acid blockers came to the market, I thought I had discovered heaven. Six years ago Xrays of my spine indicated that I have Osteopenia (loss of bone) and my doctor put me on Fosomax. After three years of taking Fosomax I stopped it because of its scary side effect. I have been taking a lot of calcium supplement instead. Two years ago my Gastrointerologist was the first doctor to tell me that Nexium, that I am taking now, does not allow absorbpton of regular calcium. He recommended taking Calcium citrate instead. My understanding is that the regular calcium supplements require acid to get absobed, whereas calcium citrate is water soluable. The latest Xray of my spine indicates that the loss of bone in my spine has reached degenerative stage and I have severe back and leg pains. I am expecting that I will soon be unable to walk. I really like some answers, did these companies know what their medication is doing to people? Is my doctor correct about calcium citrate? I would be grateful for a response.

  31. Melissa C. Reply

    I started taking prilosec in 1988 then the purpil pill in 2001 until present.
    I have been healthy all my life, and in 2007 was forced to to go on disibility after 17 years on my job,due to sever pain in my hips,lowerback, legs, arms and hands. I have been told 5 different theroys from Doctors, and none are sure what happened they just say \”it is what it is\”. But I am still in pain, I hope this could be my answer to all this pain. Thanks to the people that brought this foward

  32. jacqueline Reply

    iam my mothers caregiver and she had been taking nexium for years now. for the past 4 to 5 years she has been having deteriating bones in her knees and consistent pain in back and hips who is there to contact or get info on the lawsuit…..

  33. Joanne Reply

    I have been taking prefaced since 1990’s. It is a great drug for relieving acid reflux. However, I have experienced 3 stress fractures in both feet over the past 2.5 years. I am glad to find out the cause. It has been a puzzle for years.

  34. kendall Reply

    Wow,,everything you all say is my same experience,,I am a 47 year old Male,,i have been taking Prevacid for the most of the time and a few other’s,,Since 1989,,,i was in the Air force in the Early 80’s,,so you know i had to be in good shape to get in and pass the physical’s,,anyway,,i experience severe lower back and hip paid,,my knee’s are aching,,i limp like im 90 yrs old,,OH,,wait a minute,,i know a 90 yr old man in better shape than me when it come’s to walking,,,I hurt in my shoulder’s,my neck has been having severe problem’s with osteoarthritis and buldging disk,,my ankle pop’s and give’s out on me,,SO,,the list goes on,,,IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR ME ??,, how do i prove it come from Prevacid and what test should i ask to be done ?? Please help

  35. ALEXANDER Reply

    I have been takng previcid since1999 because I have allot of heartburn and thats the only thing that helps me but I also have been getting alot of pain in my bones in my legs and alot of lower back pain in my spine could this be the cause?

  36. kerline Reply

    I have been taking nexium and prilosec from December of 2006 till present I am 42 years old and I have a bad case of Niorcrosses thats a bone illness. I broke my hip and have a fracture of my left fimier. I now have to have a double hip replacment both left and right hip, because my bones are just rotting away. and now just reasently my left wrist feels like its about to give out. I am in so much pain 24 hours a day. MY back feels like someone is just kicking none stop, I have a lot of accidents going to the bathroom because i have to use a walker or a cane to walk. I dont always make it . My orthopidic doctor is now giving me hip injections and I’m to the doctor three times a month.

  37. cyndi Reply

    II am 37 years old and have been taking Pevacid for 6 years and suffer from knee, ankle, hip, and spine pain. 6 monthes ago I had a stress fracture in my right ankle that has not healed properly. Had no idea how I fractured it as I didn’t have an accident or any trauma to the ankle. Just found out today that Prevacid can cause bone fractures! I am appalled!

  38. mona Reply

    i have been taking prevacid 30 mg a day for 15 years now i do not suffer from bone pain thank God as some of you seem to but i do have severe migraines and colitis i wonder if that has anything to do with it. i have become so dependent on my acid reducer because i cant skip not even one day without taking it or i will have horrible acid reflux or stomach pain. i am afraid of not taking it yet afraid that i may be harming myself more. i wish we had some answers and better sollutions.

  39. Lois Reply

    The end of March 2012 Dr. Oz had a person on his show that
    recommended taking Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 teaspoon to a glass
    of water – to reduce stomach acid. I have a problem with acid
    reflux and have taken Prevacid for years and have tried the Apple
    Cider Vinegar treatment instead and it worked for me.

  40. Michae Reply

    My. Dr. recommended prevacid/prilosec in the winter 2009 I had worst gas and pain, and I also started. experiencing joint pain.While scared of prilosec/prevacid I was using aTums for relief when while exercising I felting joint pop sound in my knee, so I figuired I would shake it of by riding my bike to my sisters house about a mile 1/2 away ,instead my s

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