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A recent study finds that commonly prescribed heartburn medication can cause kidney damage. Proton Pump Inhibitors (“PPI’s), among the must widely prescribed medications in the United States, can cause kidney disease and kidney failure.  These drugs are used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Common Protein Pump Inhibitors (“PPI’s) include Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid, among others.

In a recent study analyzing the data from the Department of Veteran Affairs, researchers found people who ingested Proton Pump Inhibitors (“PPI’s) had a 28 percent increased risk for developing chronic kidney disease, and a 96 increased risk of developing kidney failure, compared to those taking alternative drugs.

Additionally, another recent study, published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, has given rise to additional worries about the safety of Proton Pump Inhibitors, linking the drugs to an increased risk of developing bone loss and subsequent osteoporosis.

Symptoms of kidney disease and kidney failure caused by Protein Pump Inhibitors (“PPI’s”) include the following: bone pain, blood in the stool, easy bruising, vomiting, excessive thirst, frequent hiccups and muscle twitching and cramps.

In addition to alternative drugs, consumers are encouraged to adopt lifestyle changes to avoid the need for taking these medications.   As with any chronic condition, it is better to avoid the condition in the first place, rather than to treat it over a long period of time.

Lifestyle changes are many and varied.  A list of commonly recommended suggestions include:

  • Avoid going to bed with a full stomach.  Eat meals at least two hours before going to bed.  Allowing food time to digest reduces the chance of heartburn
  • Avoid foods that trigger heartburn.  Spicy foods, citrus fruits and caffeinated beverage, including coffee, can lead to acid build up in the stomach
  • Limit alcohol intake.  Alcoholic beverages can result in a build up of acid in the stomach
  • Lose weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid overeating.  This can be accomplished by reducing portion sizes at meals, or by eating four or five small meals, instead of three large meals.

Clark Perdue is investigating cases involving kidney disease, kidney and kidney transplant, following ingestion of Protein Pump Inhibitors (“PPI’s”).