Women who take certain indigestion drugs (proton pump inhibitors, PPIs)
are 35% more likely of suffering hip fractures; and smokers or those with a history of smoking are at a 50% increased risk, according to a new study by researchers at the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
When researchers studied the long term effects of PPIs they found that women who had taken them at least thrice or four times a week over a 2-year period were 35% more at risk of suffering hip fractures.
Researchers feel that PPIs may reduce the take-up of calcium, which is an essential component of healthy bones. They also believe that these drugs might hamper the body's ability to break down and replace old bone tissue.
However, lead researcher Dr. Hamid Khalili said, "Even though the drugs increased the risk of fractures it was still very low. For every 500 patients on the drugs only one would be likely to fracture their hip in a year. Middle-aged women, particularly those who smoke, who had been taking PPIs for a long time should consider whether it was really necessary."
Thus the study suggests the importance of careful evaluation and the need for long-term, continuous use of PPIs, particularly among individuals with a history of smoking.