Tag Archives: proton pump inhibitors

Can Proton Pump Inhibitors Damage Your Kidneys?

Millions of Americans suffer from stomach afflictions such as gastric ulcers, GERD or heartburn and wind up taking proton pump inhibitors to help ease the burn. Unfortunately, science is noticing these meds may lead to different kinds of health trouble down the line.

What Are Proton Pump Inhibitors?

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a type of medication used in the treatment of gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) and ulcers. They work by changing the cells of the lining your stomach to reduce or stop the production of stomach acid. While PPIs can be very helpful in treating the troublesome symptoms of heartburn and ulcers, they can cause other unwanted side effects.

The Trouble With PPIs

A recent study spanning 5 years looked at a group of more than 173,000 PPI users as compared with a group of 20,000 users of a different type of stomach medication, H2 receptor antagonists to examine the prevalence of kidney damage. The study deduced a 28% higher risk of chronic kidney disease and 96% higher risk of kidney failure in the PPI group than the H2 blocker group.

So What Does That Mean For Those Who Take PPIs?

Its not to say you should never use PPIs, they are fine for most people as a short-term solution to decrease stomach acid, and if your doctor believes the benefits outweigh the risks in your case you can decide together how to proceed. However, other studies have also backed up this growing concern, leading to the medical consensus that PPIs should be taken for short durations and not relied upon for years of continuous use. Even using PPIs for a couple months can theoretically cause kidney damage in some people. It is important to spread these findings because PPIs are used by millions of people and are even available over the counter.

Alternative Treatments For GERD

Fortunately, renal function seems to improve when many patients stop using PPIs, but not in all cases. So if you have GERD and have been relying heavily on PPIs, it may be time to switch up your meds. PPIs are not the only course of action for GERD and heartburn sufferers. Histamine H2 receptor antagonists, also known H2 blockers are another common method of treatment for GERD sufferers, some people also rely on antacids or in some cases even esophageal sphincter strengthening medications. So all in all, there are other options than long term PPI use.

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