Proton Pump Inhibitors Possible Risk Factor for Acute Kidney Injury

Published on April 26, 2017 by Sandy Liebhard

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A study published just this week in “Drug, Design and Development” suggests that proton pump inhibitor use could be a risk factor for acute kidney injury (AKI). While the findings are not proof of a causal relationship, they do point to a need for further study in this area.

Study Authors: Administer Proton Pump Inhibitors Carefully

The research involved a meta-analysis of seven observational studies involving 2,404,236 participants. The study authors identified 513,696 proton pump inhibitor users.

“The pooled adjusted RR of AKI in patients with PPIs use was 1.61 (95% CI: 1.16–2.22; I2=98.1%). Furthermore, higher risks of AKI were found in the subgroups of cohort studies, participant’s average age <60 years, participants with and without baseline PPI excluded, sample size <300,000, and number of adjustments ≥11,” the report states. “Subgroup analyses revealed that participants with or without baseline PPI excluded might be a source of heterogeneity.”

The authors of the paper concluded that proton pump inhibitors should be administered carefully, as their use may be a risk factor for acute kidney injury. However, they also noted that some confounding factors – including age- might impact the outcomes, and called for additional “well-designed prospective studies” to “clarify the association.”

Proton Pump Inhibitor Risks

Proton pump inhibitors include prescription and over-the-counter versions of Nexium, Prilosec and PevAcid, to name a few. In 2013, roughly 15 million Americans turned to one of these medications to control symptoms associated with GERD and other problems caused by the excess production of stomach acid. However, it has been estimated that between 25% and 70% of these prescriptions have no appropriate indication.

Recent studies have linked long-term proton pump inhibitor use to a range of serious complications, including heart attacks, bone fractures, and C. difficile infections. Extended use of the drugs has also been tied to life-threatening renal complications, including acute interstitial nephritis, chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury and kidney failure.

A growing number of proton pump inhibitor lawsuits have been filed over the past year by patients who allegedly experienced serious renal problems after using medications in this class.  In addition to citing the growing body of research linking proton pump inhibitors to serious kidney problems, the complaints claim that the drugs’ manufacturers have received numerous reports of renal injuries among patients who have used the drugs. Yet they have never provided patients or doctors with adequate warnings regarding their potential to harm the kidneys.

Bernstein Liebhard LLP is actively filing proton pump inhibitor lawsuits involving acute kidney injury and other serious renal complications. To learn more, please contact our office at (888) 994-5118.

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