Since the 1990s, proton pump inhibitors have been a favored treatment for GERD and even simple acid reflux. They suppress stomach acid up to three days per dose and were thought to have minimal side effects. But two recent studies might change some treatment standards.
The first, from Johns Hopkins, tracked 10,482 adults with normal kidney function for 15 years. It found that PPI users were 20 to 50 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease than non-PPI users. The second study out of SUNY Buffalo tracked over 240,000 patients for 17 years and had similar results. Both studies also reported that people who used H2 blockers (another medication that blocks acid reflux, but only lasts 12 hours per dose) didn’t increase the risk for CKD.
If properly prescribed for GERD, taking PPIs might be worth the reduced risk of esophageal cancer. But, warns the SUNY study, two-thirds of the time they’re not prescribed appropriately. Talk with your doc first about how to quell stomach fires.
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