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Nexium Kidney Failure

female patient with doctorMore than 15 million Americans use Proton Pump Inhibitor drugs like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid to treat heartburn or acid reflux. However, researchers estimate that up to 70% of these prescriptions have been written unnecessarily, and up to a quarter of long-term users could stop taking the medication without suffering increased symptoms.

Patients must weigh risks and benefits with their doctors, now that studies have consistently linked Nexium use with kidney problems. Proton Pump Inhibitor users face an increased risk of acute kidney injury and inflammatory kidney disease (acute interstitial nephritis), as well as chronic kidney disease, where the kidneys lose their ability to effectively filter impurities from the blood. Over time, chronic kidney disease patients may require regular dialysis treatments and may even need a kidney transplant. In rare cases, kidney failure ends in death.

Nexium and kidney problems

Several studies published in recent years found a connection between Proton Pump Inhibitor drugs (like Nexium) and kidney disease. A study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology assess VA records comparing 170,000 new proton pump inhibitor (PPI) users with 20,000 H2 receptor blocker users – two classes of drugs used to suppress stomach acid. They found 15% of people who took PPIs were diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (compared to 11% of H2 blocker users). After controlling for age and disease, the risk of developing kidney disease increased to 28% among PPI users.

Similarly, researchers from Johns Hopkins University published similar findings in JAMA Internal Medicine earlier this year. They found people who use drugs like Nexium have a 15% higher risk of chronic kidney disease with one daily dose and 46% increased risk with two daily doses, compared with non-users.

Researchers are careful to emphasize that patients using these drugs are more likely to be older and suffering from various other health problems, and that their findings are far from establishing direct cause-and-effect, but more analysis is warranted. They underscore that patients should only use PPIs when “medically necessary” and should treat underlying medical conditions, rather than masking the symptoms with drugs, to limit exposure.

Another approach for patients who require a long course of Nexium would be to routinely monitor their kidney function, Dr. Morgan E. Grams, a kidney specialist at Johns Hopkins, told the NY Times.

Can Nexium cause kidney failure?

  • Less than 0.2% of PPI users developed end-stage kidney failure, but the relative risk was 96% higher than those using H2 blockers.

Nexium kidney disease symptoms

The National Kidney Foundation warns you may have kidney disease if:

  • You’re tired and have having trouble concentrating.
  • You’re having difficulty staying asleep.
  • Your skin is dry and itchy.
  • You urinate often, especially at night.
  • There is blood in your urine.
  • Your urine is foamy or bubbly like a whisked egg.
  • Your eyes are puffy.
  • Your feet and ankles are swollen.
  • Your appetite is poor.
  • You get a lot of muscle cramps.

People with high blood pressure, an age of 60+, diabetes, and family history of kidney failure are at increased risk of developing kidney disease, so it’s important for these individuals to get tested annually.

Long term side effects of Nexium

In addition to kidney problems, long-term use of Nexium and other PPIs include:

  • Pneumonia: PPIs create a less acidic stomach environment, which is more conducive to bacteria that can aspirate into the lungs.
  • difficile: Life-threatening diarrhea and colon inflammation (colitis) are more likely when the natural ecology of the gut is disturbed through antibiotic and/or PPI use.
  • Hip fractures: Lower stomach acid levels may affect the body’s absorption of calcium and B12, which may explain the uptick in hip fractures and osteoporosis among PPI users.

Given all these esomeprazole side effects, other manners of treating heartburn and acid reflux should be fully examined before opting for higher or longer doses. For instance, lifestyle changes like losing weight, smoking cessation, eating smaller meals, consuming a low-fat diet and avoiding trigger foods (like alcohol, citrus, garlic, onions, tomatoes, caffeine, spices, and fried foods) can have a big impact on GERD symptoms. In severe cases, surgery may provide long-term relief.

Nexium kidney damage?

Kidney damage is incurable, but it can be managed, says the Medical Education Institute, by doing the following:

  • Knowing the names of lab tests and what the results mean.
  • Controlling your blood pressure through weight loss, exercise, stress reduction, a low-sodium diet & medication.
  • Controlling your blood sugar levels through diet, exercise and medication.
  • Taking Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to protect kidney function when necessary.
  • Treating anemia with iron or medication like epoetin.
  • Eating more fresh produce and low-fat dairy.
  • Limiting protein when recommended by your doctor or a dietitian.
  • Avoiding high-potassium fruits like raisins, prunes, apricots, papaya, mango, avocado, bananas, and oranges.
  • Quitting smoking to reduce the amount of protein in the urine and slow kidney disease progression by half.
  • Avoiding OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen – especially alongside caffeine.
  • Exercising to keep the heart, blood vessels, muscles and joints in good working order.

Patients who have suffered serious health problems after taking esomeprazole have filed Nexium lawsuits against manufacturer AstraZeneca, alleging that the company knowingly marketed a dangerous drug without providing adequate warnings. Plaintiffs are demanding compensation to cover hospital bills, therapy costs, disability-related expenses, loss of income, and intangible suffering.

Nexium kidney side effects resources

  1. CBS News – Commonly used heartburn drugs may lead to kidney damage: study
  2. NY Times – Heartburn Drugs Tied To Kidney Problems
  3. National Kidney Foundation – 10 Signs You May Have Kidney Disease
  4. Harvard – Do PPIs Have Long Term Side Effects?
  5. Healthline – GERD Treatments