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Heartburn Drugs Linked to 96% Increased Kidney Failure Risk

April 20, 2016 — The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology has published a study linking long-term use of antacid medications like Nexium with a 96% increased risk of kidney failure and a 26% increased risk of chronic kidney disease.

The researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including 173,321 people who used heartburn drugs in the Proton-Pump Inhibitor (PPI) class. They compared the rate of kidney problems with 20,270 people who used a non-PPI heartburn drug like Pepcid or Zantac (also known as H2-blockers).

After tracking patient outcomes for five years, 15% of PPI-users had been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, compared to 11% of people who used H2-blockers.

Only 0.2% of patients in the study were diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure, but it occurred twice as often in PPI users. Patients who used PPIs for 1-2 were also three times more likely to be diagnosed with kidney failure compared to people who used PPIs for less than a month.

It is the first major study to link PPIs and kidney failure. The conclusion of the study were published by Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly and his team at Washington University and the Clinical Epidemiology Center at the VA in St. Louis. He cautioned:

“I think people see these medications at the drug store and assume they’re completely safe. But there’s growing evidence they’re not as safe as we’ve thought. [Patients should] use PPIs only when it is medically necessary, and should limit duration of exposure to the minimum necessary to treat the underlying medical condition.”

Two other recent studies have concluded that PPIs increase the risk of kidney disease. One study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found a 46% increased risk of kidney disease among twice-daily users of PPIs.

Last year, CMAJ Open published another study linking PPIs with a tripled increased risk of interstitial nephritis (kidney inflammation) and a 2.4-fold increased risk of kidney disease. In December 2015, the FDA updated the label on all PPIs to include warnings about nephritis.

Antacid medications in the PPI class include:

Do I have a Kidney Failure Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting anti-heartburn drug induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with kidney failure, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Drug Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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