Patients who take Nexium may be at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD), a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure, dialysis and even the need for a kidney transplant.
In 2016, two major studies found a possible association between proton pump inhibitors like Nexium and chronic kidney disease. One of the studies, which was published in April in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, compared medical records from over 173,000 VA patients who were prescribed a PPI and over 20,000 who were prescribed another class of heartburn drugs called H2-blockers. Over a five year period, 15% of the proton pump inhibitor patients were diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, versus 11% of those using the other medications.
While only 0.2% of those in the study went on to develop renal failure, the rate of this complication was almost double in those using proton pump inhibitors. The risk was higher among those who took the drugs the longest, as patients who used proton pump inhibitors or one to two years had a threefold higher risk of kidney failure than those who used the medications for a month or less. Read More
A study published just a few months earlier in JAMA Internal Medicine reached similar conclusions. That research analyzed data on 10,482 participants who were followed for an average of 13.9 years, and again compared rates of kidney disease among the users of proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers. The analysis suggested that proton pump inhibitors were associated with a 20–50% higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
In August 2016, a study published in BMC Nephrology suggested that Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors were associated with a 10% increase in the risk for chronic kidney disease, as well as a 76% increased chance of death. The authors of the study suggested that the increased kidney risk might be the result of unrecognized acute interstitial nephritis. Read More
It’s not clear why drugs like Nexium might harm the kidneys. Acute interstitial nephritis, a serious and sudden inflammation of the kidneys, was already recognized as a potential complication of proton pump inhibitor use. It is possible that undiagnosed cases of this condition could eventually lead to chronic kidney disease in some Nexium users.
Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors have also been known to cause low magnesium levels. Magnesium is important for kidney function, and magnesium deficiency has been linked to kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease is a condition that results in the gradual loss of renal function. Patients with early stage kidney disease often experience few symptoms, delaying diagnosis until kidney function is seriously impaired.
Symptoms of chronic kidney disease may include:
There is no cure for chronic kidney disease. Treatment generally is focused on controlling symptoms, reducing complications and slowing progression of the disease. If the condition progresses to end-stage kidney failure, patients may require dialysis and possibly a kidney transplant.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is investigating legal claims involving Nexium and chronic kidney disease. To obtain a free case consultation, please contact our office at (888) 994-5118.
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