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Kidney Failure Among Potential Nexium Side Effects

Sep 21, 2016

Nexium (esomeprazole) is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) manufactured by AstraZeneca that is used to treat gastric hyperacidity, as well as reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES), peptic ulcers, and heartburn. Although used by millions of people in the United States to reduce stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) production, studies suggests that Nexium may be associated with kidney failure.

A study published in a recent edition of JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that more than 15 million people use prescription PPIs; however, the researchers warned that up to 70 percent of these patients could be treated with a different medication. Also, up to 25 percent of patients who have been taking PPIs, such as Nexium, for a long period of time could likely stop using the drug without re-developing the same stomach issues.

The authors also warned that patients who take PPIs are 20 to 50 percent likelier to develop kidney failure side effects when compared to people who do not take PPIs, such as Nexium. In fact, individuals taking two daily doses experienced a 46 percent increased risk of developing kidney disease; patients who took one dose daily were 15 percent likelier to develop kidney disease.

A prior study published in CMAJ Open found that Nexium users may suffer from acute interstitial nephritis-a kidney disorder in which the space between kidney tubules become inflamed-as well as increased risks for acute kidney injury, which may lead to a sudden loss of kidney function. Another study published in the Journal of American Society of Nephrology revealed an increased risk for Nexium kidney failure complications and chronic kidney disease in long-term users of Nexium and other PPIs. Symptoms of kidney disease and kidney failure include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Eye puffiness
  • Fatigue
  • Fluid retention leading to swelling of feet, ankles, arms and legs
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Problems sleeping
  • Nighttime muscle cramps

Some researchers feel that PPIs cause magnesium levels to drop, which may damage the kidneys. Others believe kidney function is damaged due to ongoing acute kidney inflammation events, an adverse event associated with PPIs.

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