Dr. Pradeep Arora, principal author of one of the studies stated, “It is very reasonable to assume that PPIs themselves can cause chronic kidney disease.” “Patients should only use PPIs for [FDA] approved uses, and not only for the every day heartburn,” he stated. With chronic kidney disease increasing in the U.S., with between 18 million and 22 million Americans suffering, it’s a concern. Chronic kidney disease occurs when a person’s kidneys become damaged and can’t filter blood as they should. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes and high blood pressure.
Dr. Arora’s study included well over 20,000 patients who developed kidney disease between 2001 and 2008. 25% of patients had been previously treated using a PPI. The study suggests individuals taking a PPI also had nearly double the risk of dying prematurely. The second study included 10,000 patients, with over 1/2 PPI users more likely to develop chronic kidney disease than non-PPI users; this is after adjusting for differences between the groups.
H-2 blockers, such as Zantac, were not included in these studies and were not seen to have a higher risk of chronic kidney disease. A couple theories Arora has stated that links PPIs and chronic kidney disease include:
- Kidney damage if patients suffer repeated bouts of acute interstitial nephritis, linked to short-term use of PPIs;
- Cause of magnesium levels in blood to decline, which can cause kidney damage.
Unfortunately, it has been noted by Aurora, “[a]ccording to U.S. Data, 90 percent of prescriptions for PPI are not related to FDA-approved indications. “We are using this medication right and left, and it may be counterproductive for many patients.”