Heartburn Drugs and Kidney Problems

We posted very recently that heartburn medications in the proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drug class, like Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid, have been linked to possible dementia and Alzheimer’s symptoms.  The drugs have also been linked to heart issues, and kidney damage that not only dangerous, but long-term.  John Hopkins University researchers have reported that individuals using PPIs have higher risks of kidney disease reaching 20 to 50 percent higher than nonusers.  Increased dosing showed increased risk in their studies, which is alarming given the over 15 million people in the United States alone using the drugs.   About 70 percent of people with prescriptions for the drugs are getting them as a result of over prescribing, and being available over-the-counter makes them all the more available to be overused and abused. 

PPIs can cause short-term or acute kidney problems, as well as inflammatory kidney disease (acute interstitial nephritis), in addition to the long-term chronic problems involving problems with effective filtering of the blood.  Kidney failure can be the eventual result, which calls for dialysis and a kidney transplant if a donor can be found.  Considering these drugs are often used for garden variety heartburn, medical providers and doctors should be keenly aware that it just is not worth it.  There is an alternative to PPIs in the form of histamine H2 receptor blockers, which may have some linkage to kidney and other problems, but not in as many individuals taking PPIs.  In fact, studies showing the two types of heartburn drugs being used comparably, found that PPI users have a 96 percent increased risk of kidney failure and a 28 percent increased risk of chronic kidney disease than do the users of H2 receptor blockers.     

When making decisions regarding whether the use of medications for the relief of heartburn and acid reflux is worth it, and which ones would be safer, it is important to always consult your physician and discuss the options.  If you or a loved one has been harmed by the use of PPIs or other drugs, do not hesitate to contact the caring professional at Inserra & Kelley Law Offices for information as to whether you might have a claim to compensation.