Nexium, Prilosec: No Heart Risks Seen
FDA Review Shows No Risk of Heart Attack, Heart Failure, or Heart-Related Sudden Death
Aug. 9, 2007 -- The FDA today reported that so far, it has found no signs of
heart risks associated with long-term use of the drugs Prilosec and Nexium.
Prilosec and Nexium belong to a class of drugs called proton pump
inhibitors. They work by reducing the amount of acid produced by the
Both drugs are used to treat conditions including gastroesophageal reflux
disease (GERD) and stomach and duodenal ulcers. Prilosec is also sold over the
counter for frequent heartburn.
The FDA is conducting an ongoing review of new safety data on Prilosec and
Nexium, which are made by the drug company AstraZeneca.
"The FDA has concluded preliminarily that these data do not suggest an
increased risk of heart problems in patients treated with either of these
products," the FDA's Paul Seligman, MD, MPH, told reporters today.
"At this time, we are recommending that health care providers and
patients do not alter either their prescribing practices or taking of these
drugs," says Seligman, who is the associate director of the Office of
Safety Policy and Communication at the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and
Seligman says the FDA has been in touch with regulators in the U.K, New
Zealand, Australia, and Canada, who have reached similar conclusions about
Prilosec and Nexium.
However, the FDA hasn't finished its review of the Prilosec and Nexium data.
The FDA plans to complete its review within three months.
Prilosec, Nexium Data
On May 29, AstraZeneca informed the FDA of early results from a long-term
study of Prilosec and an analysis of an ongoing study on Nexium. Both studies
included patients with severe GERD.
In the Prilosec study, which lasted for 14 years, patients took Prilosec or
got surgery to treat their severe GERD. In the ongoing Nexium study, patients
took Nexium or got surgery to treat their GERD.
"In these studies, AstraZeneca was attempting to ascertain whether drug
therapy with either of these drugs or surgery was most effective in relieving
and preventing recurrence of symptoms of severe GERD," says Seligman.
The data raised concerns that long-term use of Prilosec or Nexium may have
increased the risk of heart attacks, heart failure, and heart-related sudden
death in those patients taking either one of those drugs, compared to patients
who received surgery.
In the Prilosec study, more patients treated with Prilosec had heart
attacks, heart failure, and heart-related sudden death than did the patients
who had surgery. The difference between the two groups of patients was seen
within the first year of the study, and continued over time.
In the ongoing Nexium study, initial data from this study suggested a
difference between treatments in the rate of cardiovascular events. But an
updated report submitted by AstraZeneca found that the number of patients who
experienced heart problems was similar in both treatment groups.