Well-known acid blocker drugs Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium, used to treat acid reflux, indigestion, and peptic ulcers, are all proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs are one of most prescribed classes of drugs “despite increasingly frequent warnings by researchers about potential risks and complications,” writes popular health guru Chris Kresser.
According to the article, published on Kresser’s blog, research suggests that PPIs inhibit proton pumps in more than just the stomach, potentially interfering with the body’s energy production and the transport of various substances throughout the body. Kresser writes that this binding is “essentially irreversible.”
Among other risks, PPIs have been found to affect the kidneys. “A study published in 2016 compared patients using PPIs to patients using H2 blockers, another common antacid drug. They showed that over the course of five years, those in the PPI group were 28 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease and 96 percent more likely to develop end-stage renal disease,” shared Kresser.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. Once the kidneys fail, dialysis or a kidney transplant is required, and, every day, 13 people die waiting for a kidney.
PPIs fall only behind statins in worldwide sales, according to Kresser, with Americans filling more than 170 million prescriptions in 2014.
“Frankly, it’s bordering on criminal that the FDA continues to allow these drugs to be prescribed as frequently as they are, and for durations of years or even decades in some cases, given the overwhelmingly large body of evidence documenting the potential harms associated with long-term PPI use,” said Kresser.