- A database analysis of more than 150,000 veterans found that starting therapy with proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) increased risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) by 30%, reports Reuters. It also doubled the risk of kidney failure.
- The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, suggests limiting use of PPIs, such as Nexium and Prevacid, would be the most clinically appropriate approach to addressing conditions like heartburn, for which PPIs are routinely used.
- Another potential alternative treatment for heartburn-related conditions are H2 blockers, such as Tagamet and Pepcid. People taking PPIs had a 28% higher chance of developing CKD compared with people taking H2 blockers.
The study involved analysis of data on 20,270 people who had recently started taking PPIs, who were then compared with 173,321 patients who had started taking H2 blockers. In addition to the increased risk of CKD, patients taking PPIs were 96% more likely to experience end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
One of the main challenges associated with PPIs is that they are freely available over the counter. “We suggest judicious use of PPIs, and that use be limited to when it is medically necessary and to the shortest duration possible,” Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, the lead author of the stury told Reuters.
Patients could also consider decreasing dietary intake of fat and alcohol.
Since these drugs are available over the counter and are considered safe for long-term use, their risk may not be fully appreciated, the study notes.