Heartburn Medication May Be Connected to Kidney Problems


A possible connection to heartburn medication and an increased risk in kidney disease was recently reviewed. The research involved proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium.

PPIs block the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid. This reduction in acid may promote healing in the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum if ulcers are present, or if there is irritation due to what is commonly known as heartburn, wrote The New York Times.

Research reported in JAMA Internal Medicine involved researchers following 10,482 people for just under 14 years. The researchers compared patients using PPI medications and non-PPI drugs. Non-PPI drugs known as H2 receptor antagonists included Pepcid, Zantac, and Tagamet, according to The New York Times.

The patients being treated with PPIs were found to have a 20 to 50 percent higher risk in kidney disease than those taking non-PPI medications. Patients taking PPIs also experienced an increased risk for bone fractures; pneumonia; and Chostridium difficile, a serious infection. Also according to The New York Times, a kidney specialist from Johns Hopkins noted that, while the study did not prove direct cause between kidney problems and PPIs, he noted that patients using PPI medication should have their kidney function regularly monitored.