Heartburn Drug Pregnancy Use May Increase Risk of Asthma: Study

Use of popular heartburn drugs during pregnancy, such as Nexium, Prilosec, and Zantac, may increase the risk of women giving birth to a child with asthma, according to the findings of a new study. 

Researchers with the University of Edinburgh report that taking acid reflux medications appeared to increase the risk of asthma by about one-third. Their findings were published on January 9 in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The study looked at data on 1.3 million children, looking at mothers who took either proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid, or h2 receptor antagonists, like Zantac and Pepcid. Researchers from the U.K. and Finland then looked to see which children later went to a doctor for asthma symptoms and allergies.

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According to the findings, the children of women who took heartburn drugs during pregnancy were one-third more likely to develop asthma symptoms than those whose mothers did not use the drugs. The findings on allergies was inconclusive. However, researchers found no causal link that definitively tied the use of the drugs to the increased asthma risks.

“Our study reports an association between the onset of asthma in children and their mothers’ use of acid-suppressing medication during pregnancy,” Professor Aziz Sheikh, co-director of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research at the University of Edinburgh, said in a press release. “It is important to stress that this association does not prove that the medicines caused asthma in these children and further research is needed to better understand this link.”

The study appears to confirm previous research that has pointed to an association between pregnancy use of heartburn drugs and health risks for children, the researchers noted.

Nexium Health Risks

Proton pump inhibitors (PPI), like Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid and others, are among the most well-known brand name drugs in the United States, used by millions of individuals with little attempt to reduce use over time, since the drugs are widely believed to carry few side effects. However, concerns about the potential pregnancy risks come amid increasing evidence that suggests users may face a risk of serious kidney problems from Nexium and other PPI heartburn drugs, including a risk of acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease and potentially kidney failure.

In late 2014, the FDA added further heartburn drug warnings about the risk of C. Diff associated diarrhea, and also indicated at that time that the medications have been linked to reports of acute interstitial nephritis, which involves kidney inflammation that may lead to more serious problems.

According to a study published by the medical journal CMAJ Open in April 2015, researchers indicated that users of Nexium, Prilosec or other heartburn drugs cause a two fold increased risk of kidney problems like acute interstitial nephritis or acute kidney injury.

This research was followed by a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2016, which found that users also face an increased risk of chronic kidney disease from heartburn drugs.

Those findings were supported by another study published in April 2016, in which researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs found that users of Nexium, Prilosec or other PPIs may be 96% more likely to develop kidney failure and 28% more likely to develop chronic kidney disease after five years of use.“

A number of individuals throughout the United States who have suffered acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease or renal failure are now pursuing potential Nexium lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits and other claims against makers of proton pump inhibitors (PPI), alleging that the risk of kidney problems should have been included among warnings provided to consumers and the medical community.

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