Can Antacids Cause Chronic Kidney Diseases Without Warning?
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Can Antacids Cause Chronic Kidney Diseases Without Warning?

Lakshmi Devan
2 min read

Can Antacids Cause Chronic Kidney Diseases Without Warning?

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A class of acidity drugs, the proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), has been linked to the development of chronic kidney diseases.

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This finding comes from a recent study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, and was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The authors, however, clarify that this finding in no way means that the drug actually causes the diseases independently. Additionally, such a link is only applicable if the use of the drug is prolonged. Scientists analysed data from 125,000 patients in the United States who were engaging in a continued use of PPIs and found that more than 50 per cent of them went on to develop chronic kidney damage who, however, had previously not had acute kidney problems.

In the past, doctors have monitored patients for signs of kidney diseases, such as decreased urination, swelling in ankles and feet, nausea, etc., and then taken the patients off antacids. But the latest study clarifies that it isn’t always the case. It could be—according to the study—that these patients were already at a higher risk of kidney diseases prior to their PPI use. This scenario is yet to be studied and concluded upon.

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Ziyad Al-Aly, the study’s senior author and assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, says, “It’s a silent disease, in the sense that it erodes kidney function very minimally and very gradually over time.” According to Health Canada, “These drugs, should be used at the lowest dose and for the shortest duration appropriate for the condition being treated.”

PPIs continue to be one of the most commonly used drugs worldwide for acid reflux, gastrointestinal reflux, and peptic ulcers. This is the time to rethink the medicines you take regularly…and if they may perhaps be unnecessary.  

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