Prilosec Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Chronic kidney disease, or CKD, is a serious condition that may be associated with long-term use of Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors.  Unfortunately, many people use these heartburn medications for long periods of time, even though they are only intended for short-term use.

Prilosec Often Used Inappropriately

Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors are indicated to treat GERD and other gastric disorders associated with the over-production of stomach acid. Since Prilosec came on the market in 1989, this class of medications has provided relief to millions of people. However, one recent study suggested that as many as 75% of the prescriptions written for proton pump inhibitors are inappropriate. And while the drugs should be only taken for a short period of time (ranging from 3 to 8 weeks), the same research found that 31% of patients had been taking proton pump inhibitors for two years or more. At least 25% had been using the drugs for about a year.

Taking Prilosec for an extended period of time can lead to severe complications, including C. diff infections, fractures, and lower levels of vitamin B12 and the mineral magnesium. Emerging research also suggests that long-term use of proton pump inhibitors may lead to chronic kidney disease.

Prilosec and the Kidneys

Since 2014, the labeling for prescription Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors has included information about acute interstitial nephritis, a form of kidney inflammation brought on by an allergic reaction to the medication. Nephritis can progress to chronic kidney and even kidney failure if it is not recognized and treated promptly.

In 2016, two studies made headlines for suggesting that long-term use of proton pump inhibitors might harm the kidneys. The first of these studies was published by JAMA Internal Medicine in January, and involved 10,482 patients who were followed for an average of 13.9 years. The analysis suggested that proton pump inhibitors were associated with a 20–50% higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease compared to another class of heartburn drugs called H2 blockers.

In April, research published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology tied extended use of proton pump inhibitors to a 96% increased risk of developing kidney failure and a 28% increased risk of chronic kidney disease compared to the patients who used H2 blockers.The research involved more than 173,000 VA patients who were prescribed a proton pump inhibitor and  over 20,000 others who were prescribed another class of heartburn drug 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.

It’s not clear why drugs like Prilosec would cause chronic kidney disease and other renal complications. It is possible that repeated, undiagnosed bouts of nephritis could lead to long-term kidney damage. Magnesium is important for kidney function, and it is also possible that a magnesium deficiency related to proton pump inhibitors could harm the kidneys over time.

In August 2016,  a study published in BMC Nephrology suggested that Prilosec 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

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

When a person suffers from chronic kidney disease, the kidneys slowly lose the ability to function. Without proper treatment, CKD can progress to kidney failure. Symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Changes in urine output
  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Persistent itching
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure that’s difficult to control

Treatment of chronic kidney disease revolves around symptom control, reducing complications and slowing its progress. Dialysis and possibly a kidney transplant may be necessary if the disease progresses to kidney failure.

File a Prilosec Lawsuit for Chronic Kidney Disease

Bernstein Liebhard LLP is investigating legal claims involving Prilosec and chronic kidney disease. To obtain a free case consultation, please contact our office at (888) 994-5118.

  1. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine: Short Reports (2013) “Inappropriate use of proton pump inhibitors among medical inpatients: a questionnaire-based observational study”
  2. Harvard Health Publications “Too Much of a Good Thing?” (2016)
  3. JAMA: Internal Medicine (2016) “Proton Pump Inhibitor Use and the Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease”
  4. HealthDay (2016) “Common Heartburn Drugs Linked to Kidney Disease in Study”
  5. Renal & Neurology News (2014) “Kidney Disease Linked to Low Magnesium”
  6. Mayo Clinic (N.D.) “Chronic Kidney Disease”
Last Modified: September 22, 2016

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