A study headed by Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore’s Dr. Morgan Grams reveals that people who take heartburn pills regularly are at greater risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Also, known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), the pills have always been categorized historically as extremely safe but seem to have some adverse effects says the epidemiology assistant professor.
He says that since the use of PPIs is widespread, even a rare adverse effect can influence a large group of people and hence one should use the pills judiciously. Other studies have also linked the PPIs with side effects and kidney disease. Scientists have not yet come to any conclusion as to how the drugs in PPIs can lead to kidney problem; earlier studies have revealed that the PPIs can cause a type of kidney inflammation, interstitial nephritis.
PPIs intake increases kidney disease risk by 20 to 50%
The drugs in the heartburn pills stop the cells present in the stomach lining from producing excess acid. In this way, they prevent ulcer formation and reduce symptoms of reflux such as heartburn. The study conducted by Grams and his team and published in JAMA Internal Medicine’s January 11, issue also says that people using PPIs face the risk of 20 to 50% of getting chronic kidney disease as compared to those who do not take the pill.
Although, it is too early to establish a direct link between the heartburn medicine and chronic kidney disease, according to Grams, during the study he found that with increasing dose the risk also increased, which suggests that the observation is real. Background notes indicate that more than 15 million Americans used heartburn pills in 2013, which is quite alarming.
Other data sets also reveal that PPI users who are overweight or taking medicine for lower blood pressure or cholesterol are more vulnerable to kidney disease. Also, patients with hypertension also are more likely to get kidney disease as compared to those who do not take pills for any such conditions. Thus, the combination of heartburn pills and drugs prescribed for hypertension, cholesterol or lower blood pressure can also increase the likelihood of kidney disease.