Use of proton pump inhibitors is associated with lower trabecular bone density in older individuals

Bone. 2013 Dec;57(2):437-42. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2013.09.014. Epub 2013 Sep 26.


Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are highly effective in the treatment of upper gastrointestinal acid-related conditions and are fast becoming one of the most frequently prescribed treatments in adult or older persons. Recent data show that long-term use of PPIs in older subjects is associated with important undesirable effects, including a higher risk of osteoporotic fractures. The mechanisms of this association are unclear and the relationship between the use of PPIs and parameters of bone mass and geometry has never been fully explored. This study investigates the relationship between the chronic use of PPIs and the parameters of bone mass (cortical and trabecular bone mineral density - vBMDc and vBMDt) and bone geometry (cortical and trabecular cross sectional area - tCSA and cCSA) in older individuals. The study population consisted of 1038 subjects (452 men and 586 women) 65years or older, selected from the InCHIANTI study, with complete information on computerized tomography performed at tibial level (pQCT) and on medications. Participants were classified as PPI users and nonusers based on self-report of PPI use over the last 15days, with PPI users (36 subjects, 14 men and 22 women) making up 3.4% of the study population (mean age 75.7±7.4years). The relationship between use of PPIs and pQCT bone parameters was tested by multivariate linear regression analysis adjusted for age, sex and several clinical factors and/or statistically confounding variables identified by partial correlation coefficient and Spearman partial rank order correlation coefficients, as appropriate (age, sex, BMI, caloric intake, IGF-1, IL-6, calcium, estradiol, bioavailable testosterone, vitamin D, parathyroid hormone, cross-sectional muscle area, and level of physical activity). PPI users showed age- and sex-adjusted lower vBMDt than nonusers (180.5±54.8 vs. 207.9±59.4, p=0.001). The inverse association between PPI use and vBMDt remained almost unchanged after adjustment for multiple confounders. There was no statistically significant difference in vBMDc, tCSA and cCSA between PPI users and nonusers. In community dwelling older persons, the use of PPIs is inversely associated with vBMDt, an early marker of the osteoporotic process. These findings suggest that PPI use might increase the risk of fractures in older subjects through its detrimental effects on trabecular bone.

Keywords: Bone mineral density; Elderly; InCHIANTI Study; Proton pump inhibitors; Trabecular bone mineral density.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / pathology
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / adverse effects*


  • Proton Pump Inhibitors