Popular Acid Reflux Medication Nexium Linked to Kidney Issues

Recent revelations about Nexium have uncovered kidney side effects in one of the most frequently prescribed treatments for excess stomach acid. Nexium is the brand name for esomeprazole, manufactured by Astra Zeneca. Nexium conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux or Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. It may also be used to prevent gastric ulcers caused by some bacterial infections or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Nexium is in a class of acid-suppressing medications known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Instead of neutralizing stomach acid chemically like other antacid drugs do, PPIs inhibit the production of acid by reducing the activity of proton-potassium pumps in the stomach’s parietal cells. Parietal cells are large cells in the lining of the stomach that secrete hydrochloric acid.

Virtually all drugs have some side effects, some of which may be quite serious. Several recent studies have documented Nexium kidney side effects, which in extreme cases have led to chronic kidney disease.

In the online journal CMAJ Open, a study published in April 2015 reported that patients taking Nexium or other PPIs had more than double the increase in the chance of hospital admission for acute kidney injury.

In February 2016, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers reviewed records of more than 10,000 patients. Some took PPIs like Nexium, some took a different type of acid-suppressor known as an H2-receptor antagonist. Researchers found that those who took PPIs had a 20 to 50 percent increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Among those who took PPIs twice daily, they showed a higher incidence of kidney disease that those who took them only once a day.

In April 2016, a study published online in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology showed similar results. Researchers in that study reviewed data on thousands of patients in the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system. Histories of new users of PPIs, such as Nexium, were compared to those of new users of H2-receptor antagonists.

Researchers found in the PPI users, an increased rate of kidney trouble and chronic kidney disease. Over the course of 5 years, PPI users were 28 percent more likely to develop end-stage renal disease.

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