Acid Reflux Medications (PPI)

Using Heartburn/Acid Reflux medicines may increase your risk of Developing Kidney Disease.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that Nexium®, Prilosec®, Prevacid® and other common medicines for heartburn or acid reflux may increase your risk of developing kidney disease.

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Nexium®, Prilosec®, Prevacid® are part of a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, which fight heartburn and acid reflux by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach. The JAMA study found that using PPIs may increase the risk of kidney disease by as much as 50%.

The study does not explain exactly why using PPIs like Nexium®, Prilosec® and Prevacid® may lead to kidney problems, but there are several theories. One theory is that low magnesium levels caused by PPIs could be at fault. Another theory is that PPIs could constrict blood vessels and potentially cause high blood pressure, which can overwork the kidneys. CBS News reported that over 15 million Americans consumed PPIs in 2013. The media outlet also stated that, “Newer studies now show a link between the drugs and chronic kidney disease, in which the kidneys lose their ability to filter blood effectively.”

Proton Pump Inhibitor Side Effects

An article published in Bioscience Technology reported on research that was started by Dr. John Cooke which revealed that long-term use of PPI heartburn drugs affected not only the kidneys, but can also be attributed to causing heart attacks as well as dementia. The research team found that the most common antacid drugs (proton pump inhibitors) rapidly aged the cells within the body. This aging contributed to the deterioration of the lining within the blood cells (endothelial tissue).

Dr. Cooke commented that, “When healthy, human endothelial cells create a teflon-like coating that prevents blood from sticking. When older and diseased, the endothelium becomes more like Velcro, with blood elements sticking to the vessel to form blockages.” These blockages could cause heart attacks and PPI users were found to have a 16 to 21 percent chance of having a heart attack compared to people who didn’t take PPIs. It was also discovered that while the antacids reduced acid in the stomach it also reduced acid in other parts of the body; acid that was required for certain cells to work such as lysosomes, which act like garbage disposals for the body. When these clean-up crew cells can’t function, waste builds up within the vessels and also contributes to the cells rapid aging. Fox 26 Houston interviewed Dr. Cooke about his research (click here to watch the interview).

Dr. Cooke’s findings on a link between PPI use and dementia was not the only research to make this connection. The Tech Times cited a study done in JAMA that also showed a link between antacids and dementia. They experimented with mice on the effect of long term PPI use and discovered that mice that were given PPIs over an extended period of time had symptoms of dementia. The research then delved into observational data that was collected from over 73,679 elderly patients. They discovered that, “The patients receiving regular PPI medication had a significantly increased risk of incident dementia compared with the patients not receiving PPI medication.” This confirmed the earlier experiments that were done with mice.

Proton Pump Lawsuit

As researchers continue to investigate the effects of these commonly used antacid drugs (the FDA estimates that 1 in 14 Americans has used them), it is becoming more and more apparent how harmful they can be to the body. There is also the question of why manufacturer AstraZeneca failed to detect these flaws in their product and warn consumers about these dangerous side effects. People from across the country suffering side effects have filed lawsuits against AstraZeneca.

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