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Omeprazole (marketed as Prilosec and generic products)

Audience: Gastroenterologists, other healthcare professionals, consumers

FDA issued an early communication about the ongoing review of new safety data for the proton pump inhibitors, Prilosec and Nexium. The new safety data was from two small long-term clinical studies in patients with severe gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In both studies, patients were randomly assigned to receive treatment with a drug (either omeprazole or esomeprazole) or to have surgery to control their GERD.

The results from the study of Prilosec and analyses from an ongoing study of Nexium raised concerns that long-term use of Prilosec or Nexium may have increased the risk of heart attacks, heart failure, and heart-related sudden death in those patients taking either one of the drugs compared to patients who received surgery. After reviewing these and other data submitted by the company, FDA's preliminary conclusion at this time, is that collectively, these data do not suggest an increased risk of heart problems for patients treated with omeprazole or esomeprazole. Healthcare providers should not change their prescribing practices and patients should not change their use of these products at this time.

Both drugs are used for the treatment of GERD, esophageal erosions and for maintenance of healing erosions of the esophagus. They are also used for the treatment of ulcers. Prilosec is also sold over the counter for frequent heartburn.

[August 09, 2007 - Early Communication About an Ongoing Safety Review - Omeprazole and Esomeprazole - FDA]