Patients using proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to manage heartburn and acid reflux are at higher risk of chronic kidney disease, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine on 11th January 2016. The authors found that as many as 70 percent of prescriptions had been distributed inappropriately, and a quarter of long term users could stop taking PPIs without suffering increased heartburn. Although the study can’t establish a direct cause-and-effect link between these medications and kidney disease, there was an increased risk associated with an increased use of the drugs.
The exact cause isn’t clear, however scientists theorize that it may be due to PPIs inducing a decline of magnesium levels in the body, which could damage the kidneys. They may also cause acute kidney inflammation which over time can lead to chronic kidney disease. Kenneth DeVault, M.D., President of the American College of Gastroenterology and Chair of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, encourages people who use PPIs to speak with their doctor to check whether alternative medication, such as H2 blockers, may be appropriate. “If you don’t need these medicines, you shouldn’t take them”, he said.References