Commonly Prescribed Heartburn Medications Linked To Renal Failure

Commonly Prescribed Heartburn Medications Linked To Renal Failure

Consumption of proton pump inhibitors (PPI) drugs found to increases the risk of chronic kidney disease by 20% and raises the risk of kidney failure by four times.

PPIs are one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S., with an estimated 113 million prescriptions filled in 2008, costing patients nearly US$ 14 billion. Due to acid reflux and related conditions only requiring short-term treatment with PPIs, up to 70 percent of patients overuse these medications without benefit and are subjected to unnecessary adverse effects. New research conducted by University at Buffalo reported link between medications prescribed to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers and high risk for kidney failure. The research published in Pharmacotherapy is based on long-term studies, which were conducted to examine effects of PPIs on kidney function.

“This study adds to a growing list of concerning side effects and adverse outcomes associated with PPIs,” says David Jacobs, PharmD, Ph.D., lead investigator and assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. As a part of the study, researchers examined the health data of more than 190,000 patients over a 15-year period. The results showed highest risk among people of 65 years old. The prevalence of PPI use in the U.S. could have a devastating effect on public health. Because these drugs are still considered safe, education and deprescribing initiatives are needed to raise awareness among health care providers. Deprescribing may involve reducing dosage or stopping usage.

Examined PPIs included esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole, pantoprazole and rabeprazole commonly known by brand names as Vimovo, Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix and Aciphex, respectively. Data for the investigation was gathered from medical insurance and prescription claims from a Western New York insurer. Researchers examined medical history from 1993-2008 of adult patients with no history of kidney disease. Kidney health was compared between patients who underwent PPI therapy and those who were unexposed.

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