Proton-pump inhibitors sound like something right out of Star Wars, but they’re actually common – far too common, considering their potential risks – here in the real world.

Following a recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review of studies, the administration posted a “class labeling change”  notice on its Web site alerting health care professionals and consumers that proton-pump inhibitors will now feature a label warning regarding “a possible increased risk of fractures at the hip, wrist and spine” attributable to their use. According to the FDA, people ages 50 or older who had been taking the medication for one year or more, often in high doses, were at the greatest risk.

If your doctor tells you proton-pump inhibitors are in your immediate future, ask about the potential side effects and if you can avoid taking medication altogether.