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FDA Confirms No Heart Risk From Heartburn Drugs
Date:12/10/2007

Preliminary studies had suggested possible problems with Prilosec and Nexium

MONDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A U.S. government review of the popular heartburn drugs Prilosec and Nexium found no evidence of increased heart risks, health officials said Monday.

The announcement followed a three-month safety review after reports of possible heart risks emerged from two preliminary studies. But detailed data from both studies, plus another 14 studies, showed no heightened risk associated with long-term use of the drugs, U. S. Food and Drug Administration officials said.

Dr. Paul Seligman, associate director of the FDA's Office of Safety Policy and Communication at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, told reporters that the agency "had completed our safety review, and our current assessment is that studies do not show a risk for heart attack or heart-related problems."

In a prepared statement released earlier in the day, the FDA also said: "Based on everything now known at the agency, the reported difference in the frequency of heart attacks and other heart-related problems seen in the earlier analyses of the two small long-term studies does not indicate the presence of a true effect."

And it added, "FDA recommends that health-care providers continue to prescribe, and patients continue to use, these products as described in the labeling for the two drugs."

Dr. Paul O. Katz, chairman of gastroenterology at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, agreed that these drugs are safe and that patients shouldn't hesitate to use them.

"This is altogether good news," Katz said. "It is reassuring to physicians and the public, who are using these drugs on a widespread basis, that this is not deemed to be an issue."

Both drugs are made by the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. In May, the company gave the FDA findings from two small, preliminary trials that
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