Brittle bone risk with stomach drugs


Manitoba: Long-term use of medication for indigestion and heartburn may increase the risk of the bone disease osteoporosis, new research has found.

The drugs, prescribed by doctors or bought over-the-counter, are used by millions around the world.

The research, carried out by experts at the University of Manitoba looked at a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs. They found that using them regularly for five years increased a person’s change of a hip fracture by 44 per cent.

The brands includelansoprazole and omeprazole, also known as Zanprol, which is used to treat indigestion, heartburn and peptic ulcers. These drugs are only meant to be used for short periods.

Patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder, a more serious condition involving chronic heartburn that affects one in three Britons at some point in their lives, have to take them daily for up to two months. But many end up staying on the drugs permanently to keep heartburn symptoms at bay.

The researchers used statistics from more than 60,000 adults aged over 50, including nearly 16,000 who had suffered a fractured hip, spine or wrist due to osteoporosis.

When they analysed prescription records, they found those with hip fractures were 62 per cent more likely to have used PPIs for five years or more than those with healthy hips.

Among those on the drugs for seven years or more, the risk of a fracture soared by more than 400 per cent, according to the study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Scientists believe that by blocking acid production, the drugs stop the body from absorbing calcium needed to build strong bones.

Doctors advise patients with severe stomach problems, such as bleeding ulcers, the benefits of the drugs will still outweigh the risks. But those using the drugs routinely to control mild indigestion should seek medical advice.

Manchester Royal Infirmary published research earlier this year showing PPIs may also increase the risk of acquiring the superbug Clostridium difficile. Other studies have also linked the drugs with an increased risk of pneumonia.

Ulcer and burns warning over DIY teeth whitening kits

London: A leading cosmetic dentistry body today warned that some DIY whitening kits may cause chemical burns and ulcers.

As a result the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD), the professional body that represents UK cosmetic dentistry practitioners has issued its Whitening Safety Guidelines, to ensure patient protection and satisfaction. Earlier this year, the BACD published a survey that revealed over a quarter of Britons have had cosmetic dentistry treatments, whitening being the most popular.

Leading dentist and BACD Board member James Goolnik says: “Time, smoking, tea and coffee are just a few of the things that cause your teeth to yellow and discolour. Whitening is a bit like a facial in that it helps to unlock pores in your tooth so that stains are gently removed leaving teeth cleaner and brighter. Whiter teeth can take years off your appearance, and the effects, depending on your lifestyle, can last up to ten years. But just like people’s mouths, all whitening techniques are not created equal.”

The length of time whitening can last will depend on whether or not the person smokes or how much tea, coffee and red wine they drink. Although the teeth themselves will whiten, any fillings or crowns will remain the same colour and may need replacing to match the new lighter colour of the rest of the teeth.

Dr Goolnik comments: “All whitening is based on a hydrogen peroxide solution; the only difference in the hundreds of systems out there is the concentration and the way the solution is applied to your teeth. Not all of them are safe and it is essential people consult their dentist, as some whitening kits bought over the counter or abroad can cause permanent damage.”

Dr. Goolnik recently saw a patient, Tamara Morris, 27, who suffered painful mouth ulcers resulting from a whitening kit bought at a high street pharmacy.

Tamara, who works in a beauty salon said: “Although it burned my mouth slightly when first I used the gel, I thought this was normal. Afterwards, it hurt when I brushed my teeth, or when I drank anything hot. When I went to the dentist he discovered I had sores on my gums resulting from the treatment.”

According to the BACD, there are two main ways of ‘properly’ carrying out tooth whitening:

1. Tray based. The gel is placed in a custom made night-guard which is worn from one hour to overnight for 7-10 nights depending on the gel, provided by your dentist.

2. Surgery based – otherwise known as laser or power bleaching. Here, more concentrated gels are applied directly to your teeth and accelerated with heat or light (laser/power). Usually a one-hour appointment is needed with maintenance provided with top-up trays.


No whitening is permanent. Maintenance is needed to keep that bright smile.
Only a dentist can get your teeth to the maximum whiteness.
See a dentist first to check teeth are healthy before starting. Teeth and gums can become permanently sensitive if they are not healthy first.
There is no evidence that whitening toothpastes can actually whiten your teeth.
Whitening kits can at best do nothing and at worse some of those bought abroad or over the internet can actually harm your teeth as they contain acids/abrasives that can cause permanent damage.

About the BACD –

The British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry is a not-for-profit, inclusive organisation for the advancement and ethical delivery of cosmetic dentistry, open to all dental professionals including dental technicians and hygienists. Their aim is to create a dynamic, active group of members from all areas of the dental team. The BACD, which has over 400 members, is affiliated with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the world’s largest organisation for cosmetic dental professionals.