Two additional studies have suggested that proton pump inhibitors like Nexium could have unintended health consequences. These new findings follow earlier research that has tied the popular heartburn medications to a number of serious side effects, including kidney failure and chronic kidney disease.
The first study was presented last month at the IDWeek 2016 health care conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Researchers at the Australian National University followed 38,000 people for more than six years, and found that individuals using proton pump inhibitors were about 1.5 times more likely to be hospitalized with gastroenteritis compared to those not taking the drugs. Risk was highest among the elderly and those with a higher BMI. Risk was also seen to increase with higher doses of the drugs.
“We identified an association between PPIs use and [hospitalization] with gastroenteritis, which has been consistently shown in previous studies investigating risk factors for gastrointestinal infections,” study authors wrote last year, when their findings were published in BMJ Open. “Treatment with PPIs lowers gastric acidity, which is a first line of defense against ingested pathogens, leading to bacterial [colonization], thus increasing an individual’s susceptibility to enteric infection.”
Another study published last month in JAMA Oncology found that the use of proton pump inhibitors may impact the efficacy of capecitabine, an oral chemotherapy drug used to treat several types of cancer.
The authors of this report analyzed data from 545 gastroesophageal cancer patients who were enrolled in a capecitabine clinical trial. Just over 40% of the patients were taking proton pump inhibitors. The findings indicated that the progression-free survival, overall survival, and disease control rate associated with capecitabine were all negatively affected when patients were using proton pump inhibitors.
“Proton pump inhibitors negatively effected capecitabine efficacy by possibly raising gastric pH levels, leading to altered dissolution and absorption,” the study authors wrote. “These results are consistent with previous erlotinib and sunitinib studies. Whether PPIs affected lapatinib is unclear given concurrent capecitabine. Given capecitabine’s prevalence in treatment breast cancer and colon cancer, further studies are under way.”
Additional studies have suggested that proton pump inhibitors may increase an individual’s risk for kidney failure, acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease. In recent months, more than a dozen proton pump inhibitor lawsuits have been filed in U.S. courts on behalf of patients who allegedly suffered serious renal complications due to their use of Nexium, Prilosec and PrevAcid. A motion has also been filed to centralize all such federal lawsuits in a single U.S. District Court for the purposes of coordinated pretrial proceedings.