The most recent study, conducted in Finland and published as a letter in the Archives of Internal Medicine and cited in Pulse on 9/30/10 examined data from patients in nursing homes or long-term hospital care. Researchers found up to 82 percent increased mortality in patients who were taking proton pump inhibitors, compared with those who were not taking them. They suggested the increased risk of mortality may be due to the fact that elderly patients are frailer and more susceptible to complications linked to proton pump inhibitors.
Other studies of proton pump inhibitors suggested a link between the medications and an increased risk of a number of conditions, including fractures, C. difficile infection and community-acquired pneumonia.
A different study suggested patients who used PPIs and clopidogrel had an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.
Doctors who treat older patients sounded the alarm about elderly patients being put on Proton Pump Inhibitors for too long. According to an article published on 8/11/10 on blogs.nytimes.com, some doctors who work in geriatric wards had patients who took proton pump inhibitors for up to 15 years.
READ MORE PROTON PUMP INHIBITOR LEGAL NEWS
Elderly patients who have taken proton pump inhibitors for longer than a year should speak to their doctor if they have any concern about the increased risk of proton pump inhibitor side effects. They should not discontinue medication without first speaking to a doctor.
Among drugs in the proton pump inhibitor class are Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec and Protonix. An FDA warning about the risk of fractures includes both prescription and over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors.