Common heartburn drugs may put you at increased kidney risk

Washington D.C.: According to a recent study, drugs commonly prescribed to combat heartburn may increase a person’s risk of serious kidney damage.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) suppress production of acid in the stomach and are used to treat heartburn, acid reflux and gastric ulcers. Researchers who compared patients taking the medicines and histamine H2 blockers, another type of drug that reduces stomach acid, found a strong association between PPIs and declining kidney function.

Lead scientist Dr Ziyad Al-Aly, from the VA Saint Louis Health Care System in the US, said that the results emphasise the importance of limiting PPI use to only when it is medically necessary, and also limiting the duration of use to the shortest possible.

The research analysed information from national databases of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, identifying 173,321 new users of PPIs and 20,270 new users of histamine H2 receptor blockers. The study appears in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.