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Common Heartburn Medications Pose Risks for Chronic Kidney Disease

by Reshma Anand on January 13, 2016 at 5:23 PM
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Common Heartburn Medications Pose Risks for Chronic Kidney Disease

Most of us just grab a pill or syrup to get rid of heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux. But these popular medicines may increase the risk of chronic kidney disease, revealed a new study.

The study published in the Journal JAMA Internal Medicine has showed that common drugs called proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) that treat heartburn and indigestion may pose risks for chronic kidney disease.

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"People who use proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have a 20 percent to 50 percent higher risk of chronic kidney disease compared with nonusers," said lead author Dr. Morgan Grams, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

PPIs are sold by prescription and over-the-counter under a variety of brand names, including Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid in the US.

In the study, researchers analyzed the medical records of two groups of people: 10,482 participants in the Artherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study and 248,751 patients in the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania.
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In the ARIC study, they found that among 322 people examined the absolute risk for chronic kidney disease was 11.8 percent while the expected risk would have been 8.5 percent.

In the Geisinger Health System, among the 16,900 patients the absolute risk was 15.6 percent, whereas 13.9 percent would have been expected to develop chronic kidney disease.

Grams said, "We found there was an increasing risk associated with an increasing dose. That suggests that perhaps this observed effect is real. But as many as 70 percent of these prescriptions have been handed out inappropriately, and 25 percent of long-term users could stop taking the medication without suffering increased heartburn or acid reflux."

"No one is sure how the drugs might damage the kidneys, but a couple of leading theories exist. The medications can cause magnesium levels to decline in the body, and a lack of this important mineral could damage the kidneys. The kidneys also might become damaged over time if patients suffer repeated bouts of acute kidney inflammation due to proton pump inhibitors," Grams added.

Reference: Morgan E. Grams, Benjamin Lazarus, "Proton Pump Inhibitor Use and the Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease," JAMA Intern Med., doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7193

Source: Medindia
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