The FDA has released preliminary results of U.S. and Candian studies involving two popular heartburn medications, Prilosec and Nexium. The studies, which began in May of 2007, seem to indicate that the drugs do not pose a threat for heart problems.
The Food and Drug Administration and its Canadian counterpart began reviewing the drugs, used by tens of millions of people, back in May. That’s when manufacturer AstraZeneca provided them an early analysis of two small studies that suggested the possibility of a risk.
Those studies compared treating the chronic heartburn known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, with either of the two drugs or with surgery, and tracked patients for five to 14 years. The company’s initial analysis counted more patients treated with drugs who had had heart attacks, heart failure or heart-related sudden death.
The FDA followed up on those studies, and found that they seemed skewed: Patients who underwent surgery were younger and healthier than those treated by drugs, suggesting the heart link was a coincidence.
Nexium is one of the top selling drugs in the world, with sales of $6.7 billion last year. The study should be completed within the next three months.
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