Proton Pump Inhibitors for Heartburn are Linked to Kidney Damage

Proton pump inhibitors have been used to treat heartburn for years. Now research is surfacing that they can cause serious kidney damage.

The dangers of the drugs were highlighted in a study in the journal Kidney International, reported CBS.

The publication noted a study that concluded users of these acid suppression drugs experience an increased risk of chronic renal outcomes.

The study looked at adults who use proton pump inhibitors (PPI). These drugs are sold under brand names such as Prilosec, Zantac or Pepcid.

Over a five-year period, the 125,596 PPI users studied were found to be at a higher risk for chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury than users of H2 blockers, another commonly-used antacid drug.

Kidney concerns over Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton Pump Inhibitors include Prilosec

The study found PPI users were 28 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease over five years and a staggering 96 percent more likely to develop end-stage renal disease

These findings are highly significant and could impact as many as 15 million Americans who use PPI medications. The study comes hard on the heels of another that suggested PPI medications are linked to higher risks of stomach infections with C. difficile and Campylobacter bacteria.

Brands such as Prilosec and Nexium are available over the counter as well as by prescription.

Chronic kidney disease is debilitating and life-threatening. People with existing kidney conditions are especially at risk. However, if you are buying a drug over the counter, you are not checked out for a kidney condition.

Why We Use Proton Pump Inhibitors

PPIs are used for heartburn which commonly occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus. The “valve” between the stomach and esophagus is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). It is meant to prevent the backwash but some diets involving fatty food or alcohol may weaken the LES.

The makers of proton pump inhibitors include Pfizer, the manufacturer of Nexium and Protonix, Takeda which produces Prevacid, and Prilosec manufacturer P&G. Pfizer referred CBS to the Consumer Healthcare Productions Association, which said the Kidney International article referenced a study on prescription strength PPIs.

We find these reassurances less than convincing. Over the last few years, many commonly used drugs have been found to cause very serious side-effects. Payments of millions of dollars have been made to those who were harmed.

The drugs in question include Actos which was linked to bladder cancer and Xarelto which has caused uncontrollable bleeding.

The research on proton pump inhibitors is relatively new but these drugs were introduced back in the 1980s. Many people who suffered kidney problems may not realize the link to PPIs. They may have grounds to join a lawsuit. For more information contact our dangerous drugs lawyers.

John Cooper

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