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Common Heartburn Medications Linked to Serious Kidney Problems

Kathleen Becker6 months ago

According to Reuters, a common type heartburn medication known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can increase a person’s chance of getting new and severe kidney disease, according to a new analysis. 

About the PPI Kidney Disease Study

A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) databases, show that hundreds of thousands of new users of PPIs with no prior history of kidney disease have a 30-percent increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease over the course of five years.   

Further, researchers were able to determine that the drugs tend to be over-prescribed.

Although these medications can be overprescribed and continued longer than they have to be they are generally viewed as safe.

A senior author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, associate chief of staff for research and education at the VA Saint Louis Health Care System suggests PPIs be limited and used mostly for short term use.

Findings of the PPI Kidney Disease Study

  • Nexium and Prevacid are two of the PPIs prescribed to treat ulcers, heartburn, and acid reflux and are believed to be the most effective.
  • People taking PPIs are a 32 percent higher risk of having a decline in kidney function.
  • Patients taking PPIs are 96 percent more likely to experience end –stage renal disease- kidney failure – than those patients who take H2 blockers instead.
  • People that take H2 blockers have less of a risk of developing kidney problems but are found to be less effective, according Dr. David Juurlink, a clinical pharmacologist and drug safety researcher at the University of Toronto.


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