Kidney Side Effects of Nexium, Prilosec, Other PPIs Highlight Concerns With Heartburn Drug Overuse
Recent studies that suggest individuals may face serious kidney side effects from Nexium, Prilosec and other popular heartburn drugs are adding fuel to the long-standing debate over whether the medications are overused in the United States.
For years, multiple members of the class of acid reflux and heartburn medications known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been among the most widely used brand name medications on the market in this country, including blockbuster treatments like Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid, Dexilant and others.
These drugs work by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach, and have been thought to carry few serious side effects. As a result, many individuals stay on the heartburn medications for years, with no efforts to reduce or eliminate use. However, a number of studies have emerged over the past year that suggest there is a link between Nexium and kidney problems, including acute interstitial nephritis, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney failure.
In April 2015, a study published in the medical journal CMAJ Open found that users of the heartburn medications may be 2.5 times more likely to suffer an acute kidney injury, which involves abrupt loss of kidney function. In addition, users of Nexium and other PPI had a 3 times higher risk of acute interstitial nephritis, which involves swelling between the kidney tubules and can result in a range of symptoms, from mild to severe.
Earlier this year, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine also found an increased risk of chronic kidney disease with the heartburn medications, indicating that users of Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI may be 50% more likely when compared to non-users.
These findings were supported by another study published last month, 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.
Nexium Overuse Well Known
Amid these findings, users of the medications have raised increasing questions about the kidney side effects with proton pump inhibitors, and many have talked to their doctors about the need to continue using the heartburn medications.
In response to the increasing concerns regarding the long-term safety of Nexium, Prilosec and other similar medications, health experts with NephJC, an nephrology journal club, recently held a twitter chat to discuss the recent evidence linking the drugs to chronic kidney disease.
The participants stressed the need for further research, and raised concerns that even if the risks are low, the widespread overuse of Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI drugs could mean the actual number of people affected are high, including children.
“Being on PPI is mark of contact with medical profession,” one participant tweeted. “Kinda like mint as you leave restaurant.”
Another participant said she “would love to try to replicate study in pediatric population with low baseline risk of CKD,” indicating that many individuals are on the drugs without any apparent reason.
When someone indicated that they didn’t realize children needed PPIs, the same participant, a pediatric nephrologist and clinical researcher from Minneapolis, responded: “I wouldn’t say they ‘require’ PPIs but certainly are prescribed them a lot.”
In 2014, a study published by researchers from the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy noted that not only was overuse and abuse of heartburn drugs widespread, but many who take the drugs do so for longer than four years. The study noted that this increases the risk of any side effects associated with the drugs, but it also has a large economic impact as well.
“Often times proton pump inhibitors are prescribed and overused without documented valid indications,” the study noted. “This inappropriate use comes with a cost that rapidly accumulates over time.”
Following the recent studies that examined the kidney risks with Nexium, Prilosec and other heartburn medications, many health experts are now realizing that the cost of using the medications may be even higher than previously anticipated.
A growing number of individuals diagnosed with renal failure, kidney disease or other kidney problems are now pursuing Nexium lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits and other claims against makers of the medications, alleging that they placed their desire for profits before consumers safety by withholding information about the potential risks from consumers and the medical community.
Plaintiffs allege that if warnings had been provided about the risk of acute kidney injury, chronic kidney injury and kidney failure, many individuals may have been able to avoid these severe and potentially life-threatening injuries.
As acid reflux drug injury lawyers continue to review and file cases, it is expected that thousands of cases could be filed in the coming months.
glendaMay 18, 2016 at 12:06 am
So we should stop taking this. Why hasn't my dr taken me off this? What to do??
LisaMay 17, 2016 at 10:59 pm
Several years ago our physician wrote a book on how these proton prohibiting items such as Prilosec, Nexium, aciphex, and more cured many ailments. 2 of my children were the youngest in Michigan to remove their gall bladder. 1 child had to go to Riley's in Indianapolis for surgery on his sphincter of ode. An myself had a Nisson and gall bladder surgery. We were taking up to 10 or more pills a [Show More]Several years ago our physician wrote a book on how these proton prohibiting items such as Prilosec, Nexium, aciphex, and more cured many ailments. 2 of my children were the youngest in Michigan to remove their gall bladder. 1 child had to go to Riley's in Indianapolis for surgery on his sphincter of ode. An myself had a Nisson and gall bladder surgery. We were taking up to 10 or more pills a day. I wonder now, were these surgeries even necessary?
SherryMay 17, 2016 at 8:21 am
I used to take those until they went to OTC then could't afford so now I take Equate Acid Reducer w/Ranitidine 150mg for $ 4.00 its at Walmart. My Dr.takes them too.I have been taking over 20 yrs. I think alot of us take them do to Hiatis Hernia at end of Esaghigus.
JohnMay 16, 2016 at 6:38 pm
I was recently prescribed Prilosec
raymondMay 14, 2016 at 6:42 am
6643 BALLINGER AV S.D. CA 92119 BEEN TAKING THIS 15 YRS-LONGER HAVE HUGE CYST ON KIDNEY!!??
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