Popular Heartburn Drugs Linked to Increased Risk of Kidney Damage

Categories: Medical Drug Safety

If you are one of the millions of Americans taking heartburn drugs, such as Prevacid, Prilosec, Nexium, Protonix, Aciphex and others, recent studies suggest you could be at an increased risk of kidney disease, kidney disease progression, and end-stage renal disease. Heartburn drugs are called proton pump inhibitors or “PPIs.” They help people who suffer from regular heartburn, stomach and small intestine ulcers, or acid reflux. PPIs work by reducing the amount of stomach acid made by glands in the lining of your stomach.

In a study recently released in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, authors from Washington University in St. Louis and at the Clinical Epidemiology Center at the VA St. Louis Health Care System, analyzed U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs patient data. They found that a large percentage of patients taking PPIs were now having more kidney problems than those patients who took the alternative histamine H2 receptor blockers. Specifically, they found that patients who took PPIs had a 96% increased risk of developing kidney failure and a 28% increased risk of chronic kidney disease compared to the patients who took the histamine H2 receptor blockers.

Earlier studies have also linked PPI use to acute interstitial nephritis, a problem that could result in kidney failure. A study that ran online in JAMA in January also found a link between PPIs and a higher risk of chronic kidney disease.

According to the FDA, in 2009, approximately 21 million patients filled PPI prescriptions at outpatient retail pharmacies in the United States. Prescription PPIs include Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium), Dexilant (dexlansoprazole), Prilosec (omeprazole), Zegerid (omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole sodium), and AcipHex (rabeprazole sodium). Vimovo is a prescription combination drug product that contains a PPI (esomeprazole magnesium and naproxen). Over-the-counter (OTC) PPIs include Prilosec OTC (omeprazole), Zegerid OTC (omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate), and Prevacid 24HR (lansoprazole).

For more information, including questions about litigation concerning PPIs, contact the Medical Drug and Device law firm of Borgess Law, LLC at (567) 455-5955 or toll-free at (844) LAW-9144. You can also contact Borgess Law, LLC by submitting an online inquiry.


Xie Y, Bowe B, Li T, Xian H, Balasubramanian S, and Al-Aly Z. Proton Pump Inhibitors and Risk of Incident CKD and Progression to ESRD. JASN. doi:10.1681/ASN.2015121377.

Moledina DG and Perazella MA. Proton Pump Inhibitors and CKD. JASN. doi:10.1681/ASN.2016020192.

Lazarus, B, Chen, Y, Wilson, F., Yingying, S, Chang, A., Coresh, J., Grams, M.. Proton Pump Inhibitor Use and the Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease. JAMA Intern Med. 2016; 176(s)