These Super Common Drugs Have Been Linked to a Very Scary Condition
You’ve probably had heartburn at some point in your life, and when you did, my guess is you did what most people do – you went to the drug store and reached for TUMs or Pepto-Bismol or something similar to help keep the uncomfortable burn down.
For millions of Americans, their heartburn isn’t just an occasional bout of discomfort, but a constant agonizing burn they can’t escape.
To deal with their heartburn (in this case it’s called GERD or Gastroesophageal reflux disease) they turn to drugs called Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) to keep the stomach acid down.
In fact, every single day, thousands of Americans go to the doctor because they suffer from GERD and they want a PPI to help with the pain.
But a new study published in JAMA shows the use of PPIs might be linked to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
Part of the reason this is such a problem is because PPIs are overprescribed, and that could be a problem for millions of people.
So let me show you what the researchers observed:
After following 10,000 adults for a “median of 14 years” it was found those who used PPIs had, on average, a 20-50% higher risk of chronic kidney disease over those who didn’t use PPIs.
That’s pretty substantial.
The researchers admit their findings aren’t 100% conclusive and would need to be replicated for further confirmation.
But it’s definitely an observation that put them on high alert.
More concerning is they noticed people who took PPIs twice a day had an even higher risk of chronic kidney disease compared to those who just took them once a day.
MedPage Today writes:
In a replication cohort, PPI use was associated with an increased risk for CKD in all analyses, and twice-daily dosing was associated with a higher risk (adjusted HR 1.46; 95% CI 1.28-1.67) than once-daily dosing (adjusted HR 1.15; 95% CI 1.09-1.21), researcher Morgan Erika Grams, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore and colleagues wrote in the journal, JAMA Internal Medicine, published online Jan. 11.
“The risk was specific to PPI medications because the use of H2 receptor antagonists, which are prescribed for the same indication as PPIs, was not independently associated with CKD,” the researchers wrote.
As I mentioned above, PPIs are one of the most frequently used medications in the nation.
The biggest issue here is most people who use PPIs don’t really need to be on them.
The team of researchers wrote in their findings that, by their estimation, between 25% and 70% of the prescriptions written in the U.S. are written for patients who don’t actually have the medical indications necessary to require a prescription.
What’s so alarming is what the researchers said about the prescribing practices of PPIs and how they’ve been indiscriminately prescribed for some time:
“When PPIs first came out they were thought of as a miracle drug with no associated side effects,” said Adam Jacob Schoenfeld, MD, of the University of California San Francisco, who wrote an editorial accompanying the latest research.
“Over the years evidence has emerged which shows pretty convincingly that their use is probably associated with a number of side effects, even though these side effects are rare,” he told MedPage Today. “There is no doubt that people with severe GERD benefit, but there is also no doubt that these drugs are overprescribed.”
These findings lend credence to the notion more people should fix their diet in an attempt to regulate heartburn.
Once you realize the above is true, you suddenly realize millions of Americans are suffering from a condition they could avoid if they just treated their acid reflux in a different way.
In my opinion, the best way to treat GERD and general heartburn is through diet.
In my next blog post, I’ll write on effective natural solutions to help treat heartburn so you don’t have to deal with the annoyance of GERD.
Keep your eyes peeled.