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Are heartburn medications doing more harm than good

For some people, heartburn is only an occasional nuisance that can be easily managed by popping a couple of calcium carbonate tablets. But for others, heartburn is a frequent problem that can lead to a prescription for heartburn medication or daily use of over-the-counter medication like Nexium and Prilosec simply for relief.

Long considered safe because of their believed low toxicity, certain preventative heartburn medications are now starting to fall under scrutiny thanks to a study conducted by researchers who believe there may be a link between the use of certain heartburn medications and chronic kidney disease.

The study and its findings

Conducted by researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and at the Clinical Epidemiology Center at the VA St. Louis Health Care System, the study focused on thousands of people using a particular type of preventative heartburn medication known as proton pump inhibitors, which include Nexium and Prilosec among others.

The researchers discovered that people using PPIs “had a 96 [percent] increased risk of developing kidney failure and a 28 [percent] increased risk of chronic kidney disease compared to the patients who took the histamine H2 receptor blockers,” an alternative to PPIs, explains a CNN article from this year.

A link but no cause

Although researchers were able to determine a clear link between PPI use and an increased risk of kidney disease, researchers were unable to establish that PPI use caused kidney disease. As a result, users of PPIs like Prilosec and Nexium who have been diagnosed with kidney disease are left wondering:

“Is there any way to seek remedy for the damage this medication may have caused?” It’s an incredibly good question best directed toward a lawyer with experience handling products liability claims, such as this.