Changing the acid environment in the stomach may reduce the absorption of calcium, which is needed for healthy bones. This is not the first study to link long-term PPI use with bone fractures, but it does help narrow down who is at greatest risk. Women who never smoked were not at increased risk for hip fracture even if they took PPIs regularly, the study showed.
The message is clear: Postmenopausal women with history of smoking who take PPIs for longer than two years have more than a 50% chance of sustaining a hip fracture, says researcher Hamed Khalili, MD. He is a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
It is also time to take a long, hard look at who is taking these pills chronically and why. “There are very few indications that require long-term and regular use of PPIs,” he says.
His advice? “Consider stopping if there are no real indications, and among those that require long-term use, you may try to switch to less potent acid-suppressive medications.”