The FDA has launched a safety review of the heartburn drugs Prilosec and Nexium after two studies linked the medicines to an increased risk of: “heart attacks, heart failure, and heart-related sudden death.” The FDA warned that the studies are only preliminary, and that doctors and patients should keep using the drugs. From the LA Times:
Nexium and Prilosec are part of a family of drugs that reduce production of stomach acid. Intended to relieve chronic heartburn and acid reflux disease, which can damage the esophagus, they are also widely taken for routine stomach upset.
The two drugs have been taken by more than 1 billion patients worldwide. Many doctors believe such medications are overused, according to Consumer Reports.
Nexium was the sixth-most commonly prescribed brand-name drug last year, according to Drug Topics, an Internet magazine.
AstraZeneca, the maker of both drugs, defiantly stated: “The products are not associated with an increased risk of cardiac events.” Ok, Mr. Profitable Drug Maker, thanks for clearing that up. The FDA safety review should provide more answers within three months.