Pharmaceutical

Heartburn drugs linked to persistent diarrhea

There is more bad news about a type of heartburn medication known as Proton Pump Inhibitors, or PPIs. Last week the British Medical Journal published a study that suggested the drugs put older women at greater risk for hip fractures. Now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting doctors and patients that the medicine has been associated with Clostridium Difficile-Associated Diarrhea (CDAD), a persistent type of diarrhea that may develop into more serious intestinal conditions.

PPIs include both over-the-counter and prescription drugs including AcipHex (rabeprazole sodium), Dexilant (dexlansopazole), Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium), Omeprazole (omeprazole) OTC, Prevacid (lansoprazole), OTC Prevacid 24 hr, Prilosec (omeprazole), Prilosec OTC, Protonix (pantoprazole sodium), Vimovo (esomeprazole magnesium and naproxen), Zegerid (omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate), and Zegerid OTC. Generic varieties of these drugs are also included in the warning.

PPIs work by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. They are prescribed to treat conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach and intestine ulcers, and inflammation of the esophagus. OTC varieties are used to treat frequent heartburn.

Consumers who use PPIs are advised to use the lowest dosage for the shortest duration for the condition being treated. People who use PPIs and experience symptoms of CDAD should contact their doctors immediately. CDAD symptoms include watery stool, abdominal pain, and fever.

Any side effects experienced while taking PPIs should be reported to the FDA MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program at www.FDA.gov/MedWatch/report.htm.

Sources:
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FDA