Frightening Effects of Heart Burn, Acid Reflux Medications
Investigating the Link between Popular Stomach Acid Drugs and Kidney Disease
In an alarming January of 2016 study, many common stomach acid medications have been linked to chronic kidney disease. Since being introduced in 1990, the drugs collectively known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have become among the most frequently prescribed in the country. Some common brands include Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec.
Chronic kidney disease involves the gradual loss of kidney function. The condition can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal unless a patient undergoes dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Based on data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, researchers found that patients who took PPIs had a 96 percent increased risk of developing kidney failure and a 28 percent increased risk of chronic kidney disease compared to patients who took histamine H2 receptor blockers as an alternative.
Johns Hopkins researchers recently completed a study featuring several years of data gathered from both adult communities and healthcare patients in the United States. The study showed that among those who took prescription proton pump inhibitors, users were 20 to 50 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease than non-users.
How do PPI’s Work?
These drugs block the production of stomach acid and are commonly taken to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heart burn, peptic or stomach ulcers, and damage to the lower esophagus caused by acid reflux.
How Common are They?
An estimated 15 million Americans take prescription PPIs, and they are also available over-the-counter. Common brands include Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec.