Millions of people routinely take proton pump inhibitors to relieve the symptoms of heartburn and other gastric ailments. However a recent Vimovo case report suggests that the risks potentially associated with these widely-used drugs should not be taken lightly.
Vimovo is a combination medication consisting the painkiller naproxen, as well as esomeprazole, the active ingredient found in Nexium. According to a report published last month in Reactions Weekly, the drug was prescribed to a 44-year-old man suffering from abdominal pain. However, he soon experienced a worsening of his pain, as well as impairment of his kidney function and a vascular rash.
“Over the course of a week, his clinical situation deteriorated with worsening renal function and appearance of a widespread rash. His abdominal pain also became more distressing and he mounted a severe inflammatory response, renal failure and liver impairment with significant oedema,” the report notes.
The patient’s doctors were forced to end his Vimovo therapy, and he was prescribed a course of prednisone to treat his rash, kidney problems and stomach pain. A kidney biopsy later confirmed severe eosinophilic interstitial nephritis and mesangial glomerulonephritis.
Naproxen, one of the active ingredients in Vimovo, is excreted via the kindeys. As such, the Vimovo label warns that patients with a history of impaired renal function may be more susceptible to certain toxic reactions. The label also notes that elderly patients, especially those with decreased kidney function, are more likely to experience Vimovo-related renal complications.
In 2014, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) added information about acute interstitial nephritis, a dangerous form of kidney inflammation, to the labels of Vimovo and other prescription proton pump inhibitors. This condition is often the result of an allergic reaction to a medication, and may result in kidney disease and renal failure if not treated in a timely fashion
This past April, a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology suggested that long-term users of proton pump inhibitors were 96% more likely to experience renal failure compared to patients using another class of heart burn medications. The likelihood of chronic kidney disease was also 28% higher among patients taking proton pump inhibitors.
In January, research published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggested that proton pump inhibitors might increase the risk of chronic kidney disease by as much as 50%.