GERD Medication and Kidney Disease

Millions of Americans take proton pump inhibitors (Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium, and Protonix) for heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.  Data show that more than 15 million Americans suffering from heartburn, and acid reflux have prescriptions for PPIs, which bring relief by reducing gastric acid. Many millions more purchase the drugs over-the-counter and take them without being under a doctor’s care.

A recent report in a medical journal has shown that taking popular proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for heartburn for prolonged periods has been linked to serious kidney problems, including kidney failure resulting in the need for dialysis or kidney transplantation.

Many patients who use PPIs may not be aware of a decline in kidney function as kidney function can deteriorate very slowly without any symptoms or warning of decline in kidney function.

Since many of the PPIs are over the counter and don’t require a doctor’s prescription, patients should tell their doctors if they’re taking PPIs and only use the drugs when necessary.

Bottom Line:  Your doctors should pay attention to your kidney function if you are using PPIs, even when there are no signs of problems.

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