Antacids in infancy linked to fractures in later childhood

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Research suggests antacid medications should only be used for more severe symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease.

New research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco suggests infants prescribed antacids in the first year of life suffer more bone fractures later in childhood.

While proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2-receptor antagonists have been linked with increased bone fractures in adults, there has been a lack of research into whether they might have the same effect in children. Analysis of records of 874,447 healthy children born between 2001 to 2013 who received care found approximately 10 per cent were prescribed antacids in the first year of life.

Children who used PPIs had a 22 per cent increased likelihood of fracture, while children who used both PPIs and H2-blockers had a 31 per cent increased likelihood of fracture. Use of H2-blockers was not associated with an immediate increase in fractures, but there was an increased likelihood of fracture with time. In addition, the number of bone fractures increased with treatment duration. The younger the child starting antacids, the higher the risk. Children who started antacids after age 2 did not have increased fractures compared to children who were not prescribed antacids in the first five years of life.

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