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Investigators question risks associated with long term use of Nexium and other PPIs used to treat acid reflux

Nexium, Priolsec, Prevacid and Zegerid, the so-called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), are prescribed for treatment of acid reflux.  This week the FDA issued its second warning related to long-term use of PPIs.  The FDA's original warning related to possible increased risk of hip, wrist and spine fractures, particularly in patients over 50, higher doses or longer-term treatment.  The current warning suggests that with use over time, the drugs reduce patients' magnesium levels, putting them at  risk for seizures, irregular heartbeats, and muscle spasms.  118.5 million prescriptions for PPIs were written in 2010, making them the fourth most common class of drugs in the U.S., after antipsychotics, cholesterol-lowering statins, and antidepressants.

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