Popular Heartburn Drugs May Cause Kidney Disease
Yet another study shows an increased risk of kidney disease and kidney failure in people taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs, such as Prilosec and Nexium, are popular treatments for acid reflux, ulcers, and more. A study published in January of this year revealed a link between PPIs and kidney problems. Now, in April a second study has found a higher rate of new kidney disease and progression to kidney failure in people taking PPIs compared to those taking another type of heartburn medicine.
PPIs reduce the production of stomach acid. They are used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, and the damage it causes to the esophagus. PPIs are also prescribed or recommended for ulcers. Examples of PPIs include:
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- AcipHex (rabeprazole)
- Protonix (pantoprazole)
- Dexilant (dexlansoprazole)
Some PPIs are available over-the-counter (OTC), so people assume they are quite safe and often take them when other heartburn remedies would be more appropriate. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that OTC PPIs are only meant to be used for two weeks at a time, and no more than three course in a one-year period.
Long-term use of PPIs can increase your risk of wrist, hip, and spinal fractures. However, many patients find it difficult or impossible to come off the drugs due to rebound symptoms.
On April 14, 2016, researchers published a study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrologythat showed an increased risk of kidney disease in PPI users over people taking histamine 2 receptor antagonists (H2 blockers). In looking at records of new users of the drugs in Veterans Administration databases, they found that over the course of five years PPI users were 28% more likely to develop chronic kidney disease and had twice the risk of end-stage kidney failure.
The researchers found that long-term PPI users were much more likely to suffer kidney failure than those who took the drugs for a month or less.