A new study published in the journal Kidney International has revealed that prolonged and excessive intake of heartburn drugs may lead to serious kidney disorders including renal failure.
Doctors recommend to discontinue the usage of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) if you have sudden onset of kidney problems.
These anti-ulcer drugs with proton pump inhibitor activity are generally branded as Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix and Nexium.
These proton pump inhibitors contain drugs such as Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Pantoprazole, Rabeprazole etc.
A new study was carried out in 1,25,000 patients and evaluated the use of PPIs in them. It has indicated that more than half of the patients who developed chronic kidney problems while taking these anti-ulcer drugs did not have acute kidney problems before.
As per the researchers of Washington University and the Veterans Affairs St Louis Health Care System, these patients who developed chronic kidney damage were not aware of the decline in their kidney function.
Ziyad Al-Aly, assistant professor at Washington University said: “Our results indicate kidney problems can develop silently and gradually over time, eroding kidney function and leading to long-term kidney damage or even renal failure.
“Patients should be cautioned to tell their doctors if they’re taking PPIs and only use the drugs when necessary.”
It was reported that more than 15 million Americans who suffer with gastric ulcers, heartburn and acid reflux are prescribed with PPIs which gives them relief by reducing gastric acid.
On the other hand, millions of people purchase OTC antacid drugs and consume them without consulting the doctor.
Yan Xie, a biostatistician at the St Louis who has analysed the data taken from Department of Veterans Affairs has reported that there are 125,596 new users for PPIs and 18,436 news users for H2 blockers – another category of Heartburn drugs.
H2 blockers like Cimetidine, Ranitidine, Famotidine, Roxatidine, Loxatidi are less likely to cause kidney damage.
The research was followed up for five years and found that more than 80% of PPI users did not develop acute kidney disorders. But they had too little urine output, fatigue and swelling in ankles and legs.
More than half of the PPIs users developed chronic kidney damage and even end stage renal disease without showing any signs of acute kidney problems.
When coming to H2 blockers, 7.67% users developed chronic kidney disease without developing acute kidney problems and 1.27% of these users developed end-stage renal disease.
End stage renal disease happens when the kidneys fail to function completely in removing waste out of the body. At such instance, dialysis or kidney transplantation is a must to save the patient.