Proton Pump inhibitors May Worsen Kidney Risks When Combined With Other Meds

Published on August 4, 2016 by Sandy Liebhard

Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors are known to be associated with a serious kidney complication called acute interstitial nephritis. Now new research suggests that patients who use the popular heartburn drugs face an even greater risk if they are taking other medications toxic to the kidneys.

Acute interstitial nephritis is a allergic reaction that results in a severe and sudden inflammation of the kidney tubules. A number of medications have been linked to this complication, including proton pump inhibitors, certain painkillers and some antibiotics. If not treated immediately, acute interstitial nephritis, or AIN, can result in kidney failure.

For a new study published in the International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, researchers in India regularly administered Prilosec, Protonix or Aciphex to rats over a 28-day period. Some of the animals were also treated with the painkiller Voltaren or the antibiotic Floxin.

Rats who received only Prilosec showed no signs of acute interstitial nephritis. However, those that received Prilosec and Voltaren not only developed the disorder, but also exhibited structural changes and vascular damage that could progress to acute renal failure. Similar structural changes and vascular damage was seen in rats treated solely with high doses of Aciphex. Those that received both the proton pump inhibitor and the other drugs had an increased rate of AIN.  Rats that received low, medium or high doses of Protonix all presented with structural changes that could lead to kidney failure, as well as interactions with the other medications.

“PPI alone are prone to cause AIN but the incidence of AIN increases with addition of other nephrotoxic drugs,” the study authors wrote. “All the samples showed variable degree of inflammation followed by structural damage.”

Kidney Side Effects Linked to Proton Pump Inhibitors

Acute interstitial nephritis has been noted on the labels of all prescription proton pump inhibitors since 2014. In the ensuing years, several studies have also suggested that the use of drugs like Nexium could be associated with an increased risk of chronic kidney disease and renal failure.  In 2015, for example, a study published in CMAJ Open reported that seniors who began treatment with proton pump inhibitors were three times more likely to suffer from acute kidney injury compared to their peers who did not take the medications.

This past January, research that appeared in JAMA: Internal Medicine suggested that patients who took twice-daily doses of proton pump inhibitors were 46% more likely to develop chronic kidney disease. Patients who used the drugs just once per day had a 15% higher risk.  A study that appeared in the April 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology suggested that patients who use proton pump inhibitors were 96% more likely to develop kidney failure and 28% more likely to suffer chronic kidney disease compared to those who took another class of heartburn medications.  The findings also indicated that the overall risk increases with higher doses and longer duration of use.

Learn More about Filing a Nexium Lawsuit for Kidney Damage

Bernstein Liebhard LLP offers free legal reviews to individuals who allegedly developed AIN, chronic kidney disease, or kidney failure that may be related to the use of Nexium or another proton pump inhibitor. To learn more, please call (888) 994-5118.

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