Are Acid Reflux Medications Causing Kidney Failure?

Statistics compiled by on acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, show that 60 percent of adults will experience some form of acid reflux. Depending on they type of acid reflux and how often a person experiences it determines the type of treatment that a person gets. Different types of acid reflux medication are available over the counter or by prescription. The types of medication work in different ways.

Acid reflux medication (proton pump inhibitors) work by slowing down the amount of acid that is pumped into the stomach. The particular types of acid reflux medication that work this way are normally only available with a prescription. Over the counter acid reflux medications work by neutralizing the acid in your stomach and esophagus. The over the counter treatments do not last long. These medications are best used by people who get acid reflux once in a while. The prescription medications are for people with chronic acid reflux.

The prescription type of acid reflux medications are the forms of treatment that some medical experts believe can lead to kidney failure.

A study published by CMAJ Open tested if prescription acid reflux medications are related to kidney failure in the patients that take the medication.

This study was taken over an almost 10 year time period. The study focused on 290,000 people who were 66 years-old or older. The acid reflux study had two groups. They had a group who was given the prescription acid reflux medication and a control group who was not given the medication. The results of the study showed that kidney problems were more prevalent in the group that was given the acid reflux medication.

Tony Antoniou, a researcher at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, commented on the study.

“Generally, the drugs are very well tolerated, and the vast majority of patients who take them will not develop (kidney failure) or other serious problem but the drugs should be used for the shortest possible duration.”

Dr. John O’Brian Clarke, a gastroenterologist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, also made a statement on prescription acid reflux medication.

“I would not restrict proton pump inhibitors based on this study alone; the overall risk of [kidney failure] in the study population was still quite low and the association with proton pump inhibitors and renal injury is still only an association.”

Studies have been performed on every type of medication that exists. Not one drug can be found that does not have the potential for a dangerous side effect. Doctors must weigh the potential of the damage that could be done against the need of the patient who will be prescribed the drug. It is entirely a risk vs. reward scenario.

Acid reflux is a condition that can lead to very severe problems if left untreated. Due to the results of the study, it is unlikely that any changes will be made in regards to how prescription acid reflux medications are given to patients. If anything, the study makes patients and doctors aware of potential kidney problems down the road.

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