“Heartburn Medications Linked to Kidney Damage and Dementia”
Even Larry The Cable Guy has been making commercials touting the wonders of anti-acid drugs. They are very popular and there is widespread use of them amongst the American population. Over 15 million Americans suffering from heartburn, ulcers, and acid reflux have prescriptions for PPIs, which bring relief by reducing gastric acid. Many millions more purchase the drugs over-the-counter and take them without being under a doctor’s care. Formally, they are called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and are sold under the brand names Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium, and Protonix, among others. PPIs, used for the treatment of gastroesophageal reﬂux disease and peptic ulcers, work by reduction of stomach acid production. An article in the February 2017 issue of the journal Kidney International has shown that taking popular proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for heartburn for prolonged periods has been linked to serious kidney problems, including kidney failure. Frequently, the sudden onset of kidney problems serves as a red flag for doctors to discontinue their patients’ use of proton pump inhibitors for heartburn. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System found that more than half of patients who develop chronic kidney damage while taking these drugs, don’t experience acute kidney problems beforehand, meaning patients may not be aware of a decline in kidney function.