Heartburn Medication may have Risks Leading to Kidney Damage

Nexium is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug used to treat heartburn and is easily obtainable at a local supermarket or drugstore. Most consumers think that if a medication is OTC it is safe, as it does not require a doctor’s prescription. Unfortunately, this is not always true. A recent study revealed an increased risk for developing kidney disease or kidney failure. The report appeared on April 14 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Prilosec and Prevacid, along with Nexium, are part of a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and are some of the most-prescribed drugs in the world.  PPIs primary purpose is a long-lasting reduction of gastric acid production and are taken by people who suffer from regular heartburn, ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux).

A recent study revealed that patients who took heartburn medications, including Prilosec and Nexium, have a 96 percent increased risk of developing kidney failure. Those who took heartburn medications in this class were also found to have a 28 percent increased chance of developing chronic kidney disease when compared with patients who took other types of heartburn medications known as histamine H2 receptor blockers, according the Top Class Actions.

The author of the study, Dr. Morgan Grams, said that acute kidney injury and acute interstitial nephritis, a type of inflammatory kidney disease, were already scrutinized in previous studies. The newer study implies that kidneys may lose their ability to filter blood properly, thereby causing toxins to build up in the body.

Researchers are not quite sure why kidney disease may result from PPI use. Dr. Grams said, that some theories claim that Nexium and other PPIs may reduce magnesium levels in the body, and the damage may be a result of lacking of this important mineral.

Chronic kidney disease may require patients to undergo continuous kidney dialysis, or may even require a kidney transplant, Top Class Actions reports.

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