Sometimes I am completely astounded when I read about the
horrendous side effects of some pharmaceutical drugs. But
itâ€™s not just the side effects that horrify me… the
additional diseases these drugs can cause are another big
cause for concern.
From heartburn to bone fractures to cancer
Last year, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
warned that popular over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors
(PPIs) – a class of drugs used to alleviate heartburn –
could possibly increase the risk of bone fractures,
especially in people using them long term.
Okay, fair enough, not many people use PPIs on a long term
basis, but if you suffer from frequent heartburn or acid
reflux then you may very well end up taking this drug too
A review of 11 studies, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, found that people taking PPIs were 29 per cent
more likely to develop bone fractures, long-term users were
30 per cent more likely, and people taking high dose PPIs
were 53 per cent more likely to suffer from hip fractures.
Worse still, if youâ€™re female and you develop bone
fractures because of over-doing it on PPIs, you could find
yourself getting a misdiagnosis for osteoporosis – a
disease that makes bones weak and more likely to break…
Before you know it, youâ€™ll be taking bisphosphonates –
widely prescribed osteoporosis drugs.
Guess what? Studies have already linked bisphosphonates to
â€˜bone deathâ€™ and abnormal fractures, which is rather
uncanny for a drug that is supposed to prevent fractures…
and more recent findings have now also linked these drugs
to the increased risk of oesophageal cancer!
Double the risk
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, the agency is continuing to review data from
published studies to evaluate whether taking oral
bisphosphonate drugs is associated with an increased risk
of oesophageal cancer.
The largest studies the FDA has reviewed, so far, are two
UK based epidemiologic studies. One study found no increase
in the risk of oesophageal cancer, whilst the second study
found a doubling of the risk of oesophageal cancer among
patients who had 10 or more prescriptions of the drugs, or
who had taken the drugs over 3 years.
Yes, I agree the evidence is conflicting, but double the
risk after using bisphosphonates for three years is worth
another look, and should certainly not be fobbed off with
the FDAâ€™s typical response that the benefits of these drugs
outweigh their potential risks… To strengthen their
argument the FDA added that oesophageal cancer is rare,
especially in women.
Oesophageal cancer may be rare, but itâ€™s still out there
and the link between bisphosphonates and oesophageal cancer
has been noted, much as the link between these drugs and
bone fractures has been noted… as well as the link
between PPIs and bone fractures!
So while government agencies are taking their time to
review and contemplate the benefit/risk ratio of dangerous
pharmaceutical drugs, more and more people are suffering
side effects that potentially could turn into terrible and
painful diseases! This is pretty handy from a money-
spinning point of view… more sick people means more drugs
sales and if the drugs cause further illness and disease,
It simply is not worth it.
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â€˜FDA Drug Safety Communication: Ongoing safety review of
oral osteoporosis drugs (bisphosphonates) and potential
increased risk of oesophageal cancerâ€™ published online
“Risks: Acid Reflux Drugs Tied to Bone Fractures,” New York