Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Risks of Missuse of Potent Drugs

C. diff Infections, Fractures Linked to Acid Reflux Drugs
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) like Aciphex, Dexilant, Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, and Protonix are  the most powerful class of antacid drugs.  The drugs do a great job of reducing stomach acids. PPIs are supposed to be used only for serious conditions, but often they are taken for simple heartburn, and doctors tend to overprescribe PPIs for hospitalized patients, they write 113,4 million prescriptions for the drugs. Two, Prevacid and Prilosec, are available without prescription.

Now Boston Medical Center researcher Amy Linsky, MD, and colleagues find that hospital patients treated for C. difficile infections (hard-to-cure bacteria that causes severe diarrhea) are 42% more likely to have their C. diff infection come back if they take PPIs (a 25.2% risk vs. an 18.5% risk). Another study found that the risk for patients taking PPIs is higher is higher than for those taking H2 Receptor Antagonists or no antacids.

Although the risk is not so great ( a little below 2 percent), but about 60% of U.S. hospital patients get antacids.

Other researchers found that there is a risk of developing fractures.

The benefits of PPIs may not justify their risks for many people, suggests Mitchell H. Katz, MD, of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

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