Popular heartburn drug PPIs can have very harmful side effects

Credit: Unsplash+

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), commonly known medications like Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid, are staples in the treatment of heartburn, acid reflux, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Around 10% of U.S. adults rely on these drugs daily to manage symptoms that can severely affect their quality of life. However, recent findings from the University of California San Diego have cast a shadow over the long-term safety of PPIs, especially concerning kidney health.

The study analyzed data from the FAERS database, which contains over 10 million records of patient-reported side effects from medications. This research focused on approximately 43,000 patients who exclusively used PPIs.

For comparison, researchers also examined about 8,000 patients who only used histamine-2 receptor blockers like Zantac or Pepcid—another class of heartburn medication.

The findings revealed alarming differences: 5.6% of PPI users reported kidney-related issues, compared to just 0.7% of those using histamine-2 receptor antagonists.

The disparity was even more striking regarding chronic kidney disease; PPI users were 28.4 times more likely to report this condition than their counterparts.

Additionally, incidents of acute kidney injury, end-stage renal disease, and unspecified kidney impairments were significantly higher among PPI users, as were electrolyte abnormalities.

These results add to a growing body of evidence that raises concerns about PPI safety. A 2017 study from the same university linked PPI use to chronic liver disease, further suggesting the need for cautious prescribing and use of these drugs.

While PPIs are essential for managing the discomfort and pain associated with acid-related disorders, the potential risks highlighted by this study are significant.

Healthcare providers are now urged to carefully consider the benefits and risks of PPIs, especially for patients prone to kidney disease.

The implications of this research extend to increasing awareness, enhancing patient education, and improving monitoring for those reliant on these medications.

As discussions about the safety of PPIs continue, staying informed about the latest research is crucial for both doctors and patients. With millions of people affected, understanding the full spectrum of effects from these medications is more important than ever.

This study, published in Scientific Reports by Ruben Abagyan and his team, marks a critical step toward safer use of PPIs.

It advocates for a balanced approach to managing symptoms effectively while minimizing potential health risks, highlighting the necessity for ongoing investigation into the long-term impacts of widely used drugs.

If you care about medicine, please read studies that vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases, and drug for inflammation may stop spread of cancer.

For more information about medicine, please see recent studies about which drug can harm your liver most, and results showing this drug can give your immune system a double boost against cancer.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.