Dexilant is classified as a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) used to decrease the amount of acid in the stomach. Patients use PPIs to reduce chronic heartburn caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The medication also works by healing spots in the esophagus that have been damaged by stomach acid. PPIs are some of the most prescribed medications in the world.
A 1982 study of PPIs conducted by the Nurses’ Health Study involved 238,000 patients. The research found that Dexilant and other PPIs in its class could be responsible for increasing the risk of bone fractures. These fractures were found to be most common in the wrist, hip and spine, and the risk was increased even further in women who smoked. These fractures were also more prevalent in people who had used a PPI for an extended period of time or at a higher dose of Dexilant.
In 2010, the FDA updated PPI labels, warning patients about the risk of fractures after using Dexilant and other drugs like it.
Extended use of Dexilant has also been linked to hypomagnesemia, which occurs when there are low levels of magnesium in the blood. In a study that discovered the link, the condition was found in patients as early at three months after using a PPI, but was more common in people who had been using the medication for over a year. Many times, this condition was reversed after discontinuation of the PPI and magnesium supplements. A lower level of magnesium can lead to other side effects that could be more serious.
The FDA updated the label for PPIs in 2011 to warn the low levels of magnesium.
Serious side effects may include:
- Chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeats
- Severe stomach pain
- Diarrhea that is watery or bloody
- Worsening heartburn
- Low magnesium (dizziness, confusion, fast or uneven heart rate, jerking muscle movements, jittery feeling, muscle cramps, muscle weakness or limp feeling, cough or choking feeling, seizure)
Less serious side effects may include:
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, gas
- Mild Diarrhea
- Stuffy nose, sneezing, or other cold symptoms