Call Now to Speak with a Care Manager Speak with a Care Manager Now: (303) 987-5992

Acid Reflux Medication Linked to Kidney Disease

By Cherie Coe, 9:00 am on

A new study read by Jefferson County live-in senior care providers has linked the use of one type of heartburn medication, proton pump inhibitors, to the development of kidney disease. Read on to learn more. 

Increased Risk

A study of over 250,000 people found that those using proton pump inhibitors developed chronic kidney disease at a higher rate than did the general population. In one subgroup, 11.8 percent of proton pump inhibitor users developed kidney disease versus 8.5 percent of the general population. In the other subgroup, 15.6 percent of users versus 13.9 of the general population developed kidney disease.

Proton Pump Inhibitors

More than 15 million people in the US use proton pump inhibitors, which work on the lining of the stomach to reduce acid production. They are sold over the counter and by prescription under brand names such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Aciphex. Most doctors recommend only using the drugs to treat heartburn for several weeks, but many people use them continuously for years.

Safety

When they were first introduced to the market in the 1980s, proton pump inhibitors were thought to be extremely safe. However, new studies have linked their use to elevated rates of bone fractures, pneumonia, and possibly heart disease. The mechanism whereby proton pump inhibitors cause bone fractures and heart and kidney disease is unknown. However, researchers speculate that reducing the amount of acid in the stomach allows bacteria to enter the body, causing the observed increase in pneumonia.

Duration

Studies linking proton pump inhibitors to bone fractures found the effect only occurred in people who were taking the drugs continuously for years. The study linking the drugs to chronic kidney disease did not collect information on how long the users had been taking the drugs. Experts suggest using the drugs for no longer than two weeks at a time and for no more than three treatment courses per year.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is the gradual loss of kidney function. The condition is asymptomatic until it becomes quite severe, at which point nausea, fatigue, and muscle cramps may manifest. If untreated by dialysis or a kidney transplant, end-stage chronic kidney disease is fatal. Common causes of chronic kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, and recurrent kidney infections.

Learn more about senior wellness from Home Care Assistance. As a trusted provider of home care in Jefferson County, we can help your aging parent maintain a healthy lifestyle through nutritious eating, regularly physical activity, and a sense of purpose. For more information, call a friendly Care Manager at (303) 987-5992 and request a free in-home consultation.