of heartburn medication called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)
may be linked to long-term kidney damage, according to a new
study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
is an important study because millions of Americans are on
proton pump inhibitors and have been for many years,"
says Dr. Kenneth DeVault, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist who
was not involved in the research.
like Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid belong to this class of
drugs, which treat heartburn and acid reflux by lowering the
amount of acid produced by the stomach. People who use PPIs
have a 20 to 50 percent higher risk of chronic kidney disease
compared with nonusers, according to the Johns Hopkins study.
However, a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the
drug and the disease was not established.
think more research on this subject will be important,"
says DeVault. "When you have that many people taking a
drug, and there’s a small potential risk, it certainly gets
both physicians’ and patients’ attention."
cautions patients not to panic over news of the study.
"The most important thing is to discuss it with a
treating physician and make sure everyone is on the same page
and understands the benefits and weighs those against this
fairly small, but perhaps real, risk."
says, for some patients, a less powerful acid blocker and
lifestyle changes could eliminate the need for PPI medication.