People with chronic kidney disease may want to avoid Prilosec for heartburn relief, following publication of a recent study suggesting the popular proton pump inhibitor may be associated with an increased risk of disease progression.
The findings, which appeared last month in the medical journal PLoS One, involved 199 chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients who underwent treatment at a Brazilian nephrology clinic in 2016 and 2017. Around 42.7% had used omeprazole (the generic name for Prilosec), while the remaining had not.
An analysis of the patients’ medical records revealed that more 70% of those using Prilosec had experienced progression of CKD compared to just over 10% of non-users. According to the study authors, that suggests Prilosec is associated with a 7-fold increased risk of disease progression. They also expressed concern that other proton pump inhibitors could be associated with a similar risk.
“Considering the present findings, it is necessary to rethink the use of these drugs in any CKD stage, as this can be an independent factor for worsening of renal function. Most worrying is that currently there is no restriction in this aspect in the guidelines for treatment of CKD patients,” the authors write. “It is important that the guidelines for treatment of CKD patients be updated, alerting them about these new risk factors and about the need for rational and cautious use of PPI.”
Millions of people around the world rely on proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec, Nexium, Protonix, etc.) to treat heartburn symptoms and other ailments associated with the overproduction of stomach acid. They are also among the most over-prescribed drugs in the world, with many people using proton pump inhibitors far longer than recommended and for inappropriate indications.
Unfortunately, there’s a misconception among many consumers that proton pump inhibitors are virtually free of side effects. But a growing body of research has linked long-term use to a range of complications, including chronic kidney disease, kidney failure and other life-threatening renal complications.
Several years ago, the labels for Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors were updated to warn of a potential for acute interstitial nephritis, a sudden inflammation of the kidneys that can result in renal failure. But so far, the labels have not been updated to include any other possible kidney risks.
More than 13,000 plaintiffs in the United States have filed proton pump inhibitor lawsuits alleging the manufacturers of Prilosec and other drugs in this class failed to warn doctors and patients about the kidney side effects associated with these products, including an increased risk of chronic kidney disease. The majority of these claims – including Prilosec lawsuits — are currently pending in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, where bellwether trials are scheduled to begin next year.