Recent studies in JAMA Internal Medicine and JASN show that several popular heartburn and acid reflux medications including Nexium®, Prevacid®, and Prilosec® may dramatically increase the risk of kidney failure and kidney disease. The long-term use of these antacid drugs has been linked to chronic kidney disease (KCD), which can result in the need for kidney dialysis, kidney transplant, and in the most severe cases, kidney removal.
These antacid medications are known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), a type of drug that reduces stomach acid by blocking the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid. The reduction of acid helps prevent ulcers from developing. It also helps existing ulcers heal properly. The PPIs were believed to have minimal side effects and many of these medications are available over the counter and do not require a prescription.
According to these studies, prolonged use of a PPI strongly correlates with the appearance of chronic kidney disease. A CNN report stated that, “Patients who took PPIs had a 96% increased risk of developing kidney failure and a 28% increased risk of chronic kidney disease compared to the patients who took the histamine H2 receptor blockers.”