Study: Common Heartburn Drugs May Lead To Kidney Damage - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

News

Study: Common Heartburn Drugs May Lead To Kidney Damage

Posted: Updated:
CBS News CBS News
NEW YORK CITY -

Long-term use of a common type of medication used to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers may lead to an increased risk of kidney disease and kidney failure, new research shows.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, adds to prior research that suggests proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), a group of drugs which reduces gastric acid production, can lead to serious kidney damage.

The paper notes that an estimated 15 million Americans were prescribed PPIs in 2013, though the authors point out that the number is likely higher as many, including Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid, are available over the counter.

To assess the safety of these medications, the researchers analyzed information from the Department of Veterans Affairs national databases. They identified over 170,000 new users of PPIs and compared them to over 20,000 new users of histamine H2 receptor blockers, an alternative class of drugs also used to suppress stomach acid.

Over five years of follow-up, the results showed that 15 percent of people using PPIs were diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, versus 11 percent of those on H2-blockers.

After controlling for other factors, including age and other diseases, this translated to a 28 percent increased risk of developing kidney disease for PPI users.

Only a few patients in the study -- less than 0.2 percent -- developed end-stage kidney failure, but the risk was 96 percent higher for those on PPIs.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University came to a similar conclusion linking use of PPIs to kidney damage in a study published earlier this year in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Both studies show an association and do not prove a cause and effect relationship, and the authors say other factors may be at play. However, they note that the results underscore an important point: "[patients should] use PPIs only when it is medically necessary, and should limit duration of exposure to the minimum necessary to treat the underlying medical condition," study author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly of the Clinical Epidemiology Center at the VA Saint Louis Health Care System, told CBS News in an email.

Dr. Kenneth R. DeVault, president of the American College of Gastroenterology and chair of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, emphasizes that although the risk appears to be real, it is overall very low.

"Keep in mind that the study population was a veteran's hospital, a relatively older population that had lots of other diseases," he told CBS News. "One would have to assume if you were the average healthy person taking a proton pump inhibitor for heartburn the odds would be even lower than the low odds in this study."

Still, he said, the study provides further evidence that people who do not need the drug should not take it. Gastroenterologists are already cautious in prescribing PPIs, as they've been linked to other health problems, including bone fractures and an increased risk of infections like C. difficile.

DeVault recommends that patients who have been on PPIs long-term discuss stopping with their provider and not do so on their own. Typically, he said, doctors recommend patients with acute symptoms take the drugs for two weeks, while those with more substantial esophageal symptoms may need them for six to eight weeks followed by a reassessment.

"It may be that some groups of patients need to stay on them," DeVault said. "In that situation, doctors along with patients need to weigh the risks and benefits."

He also emphasized that patients can take steps to ease heartburn symptoms through lifestyle changes. "Losing weight and avoiding eating high fat foods and avoiding eating late at night can be very helpful," he said. "If you can, elevating the head of your bed on six to eight inch blocks will really help a great deal."

Special Features

Live Traffic

Get the latest road conditions on Green Country roadways.

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

CBS Shows

Watch your favorite CBS shows for free online.

Links

Looking for a website or event you heard mentioned on News On 6? Find it here!

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

Powered by Frankly
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOTV. Oklahoma Traveler™ is a registered trademark of Griffin Communications. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.