Acid Reflux Drugs Linked To Risk Of Kidney Disease

First Posted: Jan 11, 2016 04:39 PM EST

Medications used to treat acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion may increase the risk of chronic kidney disease, according to a recent study.

Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), which treat the aforementioned health issues, are now linked to negative health outcomes after researchers found risk of increased heart attack and increased risk of death in a study involving over 250,000 people. Yet an estimated 15 million Americans use a variety of these prescription and over-the-counter prescriptions, according to NPR, including Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid.

"It is possible that PPI users are sicker than nonusers, or that adverse effects are caused by other drugs or conditions associated with PPI use," Dr. Adam Schoenfeld and Dr. Deborah Grady in an editorial, according to UPI. "However, some adverse effects have been documented by multiple high-quality observational studies and are likely causal."

In a recent study, researchers analyzed medical data invovling over 10,000 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study that was conducted from 1996 to 2011. Then, they replicated data results on the review in a further analysis of medical data on 248,751 patients in the Geisinger Health System. 

From the sample, findings showed that 322 people using PPIs in the ARIC study had a risk of kidney disease at11.8 percent when compared to the expected risk of 8.5 percent. Among the 16,900 patients in the Geisinger Health System data using PPIs, risk for kidney disease was 15.6 percent, compared to the expected risk of 13.9 percent, researchers say. 

However, researchers noted that the study does not prove that the drugs cause chronic kidney disease and more research will be needed. 

The study is published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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