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Proton Pump Inhibitors

Common Heartburn Medications Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid Linked to Kidney Disease

According to researchers, the use of common heartburn and acid reflux medications Prilosec (omeprazole), Nexium (esomeprazole), and Prevacid (lansoprazole) is linked to an increased risk of chronic kidney disease and renal injury.

PPIS AND KIDNEY DISEASE

Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid all belong to a family of drugs know as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs combat heartburn and acid reflux by lowering the amount of acid produced by the stomach. However, new research shows these drugs may also carry serious side effects.

A study published in the January 11, 2016 edition of JAMA Internal Medicine suggests people who take proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are 50 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease than nonusers.

In 2013 alone, 15 million Americans filled more than 100 million PPI prescriptions – alarmingly, as many as 70 percent of these prescriptions were handed out inappropriately. Researchers also determined that 25 percent of long-term PPI users could stop taking the medication without suffering increased acid reflux or heartburn. This study supports previous work linking heartburn medications to short-term kidney issues, including acute kidney injury and interstitial nephritis (an inflammatory kidney disease).

PPIS LINKED TO DAMAGED BLOOD VESSELS

In 2013, the Texas Methodist Hospital Research Institute determined treatment with PPIs results in accelerated aging of blood vessels which may, according to the institute, lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The institute now believes the accelerated aging of blood vessels may also be the mechanism behind the increased risk of renal injury and kidney disease.

OTHER PPI SIDE EFFECTS

Proton pump inhibitors have been linked to a number of other side effects, including:

  • Bone fractures
  • Osteoporosis
  • Low magnesium levels
  • Birth defects
  • Tetany
  • Infections
  • Arrhythmia and heart problems
  • Seizures

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