updated 12/10/2007 11:47:52 AM ET 2007-12-10T16:47:52

Patients who suffer from heartburn are not at increased risk for heart problems as a result of taking Prilosec or Nexium, according to a review released Monday by the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA and its Canadian counterpart began reviewing the drugs, used by tens of millions of people, back in May. The drug's manufacturer, AstraZeneca, provided them with an early analysis of two small studies that suggested the possibility of a risk. The agency said its review of that study as well as 14 others indicated no increased risk for patients.

"FDA recommends that health care providers continue to prescribe, and patients continue to use these products as prescribed," the agency said.

Nexium is the world's No. 2 selling drug, with 2006 sales of $6.7 billion, according to health care research firm IMS Health.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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