Reflux Drugs: Proceed with Caution

Nearly 15 million Americans use proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are sold by prescription and over-the-counter with names like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid. PPIs were first approved for use in the 1980, but now unwelcome side effects have emerged like bone fractures, infections, and heart problems. A recent study among PPI users show that the drugs greatly increase the risk for kidney disease by at least a 2% increase.

The study only selected participants who had a prescription PPI, not looking at how long they had been on the drug. More research is needed to examine the relationship between the drugs and kidney disease, as it only finds an association, not proof, that the drugs cause the disease.

Many prescriptions for PPIs are unnecessary, first given as a “quick fix” to symptoms, and should only be used when really needed. Other ways to alleviate heartburn and indigestion include changing diet, smoking cessation, and reducing alcohol intake. Talk to your physician to determine the best treatment option based on your specific needs.

Stein, Rob. “Popular Acid Reflux Drugs Are Linked To Kidney Disease Risk.” Health Shots. NPR, 11 Jan 2016. Web. 12 Jan 2016.

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