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Gastrosophageal Reflux, Heartburn Drug Causes Kidney Failure: Proton-pump Inhibitor Damages Kidney

Update Date: Apr 15, 2016 05:02 AM EDT

Prolonged use of drugs for treating ulcers, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and heartburns could relatively damage the kidney and even result in renal failure, reports a recent research. The study results have it that a group of drugs that are used to reduce the production of gastric acid may damage the kidneys extensively.

Researchers at the Clinical Epidemiology Center at the VA Saint Louis Health Care System and Washington University in Saint Louis noted that the widely used over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors (PPI) drugs could not only result in kidney damages but also lead to kidney failure in the long run, according to Medical Daily.

"The results emphasize the importance of limiting PPI use only when it is medically necessary, and also limiting the duration of use to the shortest duration possible," said the study's lead author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, a professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, in a statement. "A lot of patients start taking PPIs for a medical condition, and they continue much longer than necessary."

The study supports the previous findings that established a link between the PPI and renal problems. According to the recent report, about 15 million Americans were prescribed PPI by the doctors in 2013 while access for many over-the-counter PPI drugs like Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid are easily available for everyone.

The researchers compared 170,000 new PPI users with 20,000 new histamine H2 receptor blockers user, from the information obtained from the Department of Veterans Affairs national databases. The histamine H2 receptor blockers is another group of drugs widely used by people in the US to reduce gastric acid production.

It was observed after five years of follow up that 15 percent of individuals that took PPI were diagnosed with chronic renal problems whereas 11 percent of people using H2 receptor blockers were diagnosed positive for the same. While only 0.2 percent of individuals on PPI involved in the study developed end-stage kidney failure, the risk of developing the disease among PPI users was observed to be as high as 96 percent.

"Losing weight and avoiding eating high-fat foods and avoiding eating late at night can be very helpful," he said. "If you can, elevating the head of your bed on six to eight-inch blocks will really help a great deal," said Dr. Kenneth R. DeVault, president of the American College of Gastroenterology and chair of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, reported CBS News.

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