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New Study Links Proton Pump Inhibitors to Asymptomatic Kidney Problems

On February 28, 2017


A recent study published on February 22, 2017, in Kidney International, the Official Journal of the International Society of Nephrology, suggests that proton pump inhibitors (PPI), such as Nexium®, may be causing kidney damage without early symptoms. This study compared data from the Department of Veterans Affairs databases on over 125,000 PPI patients and over 18,000 H2-blocker (another medication used to suppress acid production in the stomach) patients, and followed the subjects for five years. The researchers' findings are consistent with previous studies that have found a higher incidence of acute kidney injury (AKI), chronic kidney disease (CKD), and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) among patients who use PPIs. However, their findings also show a marked decrease in rates of CKD and ESRD when patients undergo medical intervention for AKI. Unfortunately, many PPI patients do not experience the early warning signs of kidney injury while taking the medication.

Previous PPI Studies

The link between PPI use and kidney damage is well documented. A study published in April 2015 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) found that patients taking PPIs suffered acute interstitial nephritis at three times the rate than those in the control group, and faced a significantly higher risk of AKI. Another study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in February 2016, found that patients taking PPIs may be at an increased risk of developing CKD by as much as 50%. In a study that examined the progression of kidney disease that was published on April 14, 2016, in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, researchers from St. Louis, MO, found that long-term users of PPIs may be 96% more likely to develop kidney failure and 28% more likely to develop CKD or ESRD than patients taking H2-blocker medications.

Seeking Legal Assistance

Because many PPI drugs are available as over-the-counter heartburn medications, the potential for patients to experience these harmful side effects is disproportionately large. These medications, such as Nexium® and Prilosec®, are indicated for short-term use, but many patients continue to use them for extended periods of time. Because there are commonly no symptoms associated with the early stages of kidney injury from taking this class of drugs, many patients do not seek medical treatment at the appropriate time. If you have been affected by PPI medications and would like to speak with an attorney, please contact Impact Law for a complimentary case evaluation

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