(HealthDay News) — Patients who regularly use proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may be at increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease, according to research published online in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
The new study findings are based on medical records from 173,321 Veterans Affairs patients who were prescribed a PPI and 20,270 other patients prescribed a histamine H2-receptor antagonist (H2-blocker).
Over 5 years, 15% of PPI users were diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, versus 11% of those on H2-blockers. After the researchers weighed other factors, PPI users still had a 28% greater risk. Few study patients — less than 0.2% — developed end-stage kidney failure. But the odds were almost doubled among PPI users.
“I think people see these medications at the drug store and assume they’re completely safe,” Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, a kidney specialist with the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System, told HealthDay. “But there’s growing evidence they’re not as safe as we’ve thought.” And, Al-Aly said, the risk increased the longer people used the medications: Patients on PPIs for 1 to 2 years had a 3-fold higher risk of kidney failure than those who used the drugs for a month or less.