Yet another study is pointing to a possible link between proton pump inhibitors and an increased risk of kidney problems.
The study, which was presented on Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) in New Orleans, Louisiana, suggested that patients who rely on drugs like Nexium, Prilosec, or PrevAcid to control heartburn symptoms may be 3-times more likely to develop kidney failure or chronic kidney disease compared to non-users.
A number of recent studies have raised concerns that proton pump inhibitors might harm the kidneys. However, results have so far been inconsistent.
To further investigate the potential link, researchers at the Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, New York, conducted a meta-analysis of five studies involving 536,902 participants, all of which examined the risk of chronic kidney disease or kidney failure among users and non-users of proton pump inhibitors.
Individuals who used proton pump inhibitors had a 33% increased relative risk of chronic kidney disease or kidney failure when compared with non-users.
“This study demonstrates a significant association between the use of PPIs and increased risks of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure,” the study’s lead author said in a statement. “Although no causal relationship has been proven, providers should consider whether PPI therapy is indicated for patients. Chronic use of PPIs should be avoided if not really indicated.”
In 2013, more than 15 million Americans were prescribed proton pump inhibitors to treat symptoms associated with the excess production of stomach acid. However, a growing body of research has linked their long-term use to a number of serious renal side effects, including:
These studies include:
All proton pump inhibitor labels were updated in late 2014 to include mention of acute interstitial nephritis. However, no other kidney-related modifications have been made to their labels since then.
Following publication of these studies, plaintiffs began filing proton pump inhibitor lawsuits in courts around the nation. A federal multidistrict litigation established in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, currently houses around 275 lawsuits involving Nexium, Prilosec, PrevAcid, Dexilant and Protonix.
Additional cases have been filed in various state courts, including Delaware, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Louisiana.
Plaintiffs involved in this litigation claim that proton pump inhibitor manufacturers have long concealed evidence linking the medications to serious kidney complications and failed to provide doctors and patients with appropriate safety warnings. They further assert that they could have avoided these kidney side effects had they received adequate notice from the drugs’ makers.