Studies have linked certain popular stomach acid medication with a very dangerous risk. Anapol Weiss Partner Tracy Finken answers a few important questions about these drugs and what patients can do.
Prevacid and other proton pump inhibitors have been in the news a lot lately. What’s going on?
Two population-based analyses published in January 2016 associated proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, with an increased risk for developing chronic kidney disease. The results indicate that the ten-year absolute risk among the 16,900 baseline PPI users studied was 15.6 percent, and the expected risk for non-PPI users was 13.9 percent. Beyond their link between the disease and PPI use, the researchers note that 25 percent of long-term PPI users could discontinue therapy without developing symptoms.
A few months later, more research was published that links these drugs to an increased risk of kidney problems. This study used data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The researchers found that patients who took PPIs had a 96 percent increased risk of developing kidney failure and a 28 percent increased risk of chronic kidney disease – compared to patients who took histamine H2 receptor blockers instead.
What is chronic kidney disease?
Chronic kidney disease involves the gradual loss of kidney function. Many kidney specialists use a system involving stages to describe the progress of the disease. During Stage 1, for example, patients may not experience any symptoms. In contrast, Stage 5 is considered end-stage renal disease, because patients’ kidneys can’t adequately function without undergoing dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Are there other risk factors for kidney disease?
Yes. More than 10 percent of adults in the United States are at some stage of chronic kidney disease, also called CKD. There are other risk factors for the condition, such as kidney infection, obesity, and diabetes. About one in three adults with diabetes has CKD as well as one in five adults with high blood pressure.
What should I do?
Do not change or stop any treatment without consulting with your doctor first to determine what’s best. This information is not meant to replace medical advice. Patients should always speak with their health care provider before making decisions about their health.
Contact our firm for assistance if you’ve been diagnosed with kidney disease after taking Prevacid or another PPI drug for an extended period of time. Speaking with an experienced drug lawyer right away can protect your legal rights; it can also be the first step toward making the manufacturer take responsibility for failing to warn PPI users about this life-threatening risk.