Prilosec Under Investigation: Poses Serious Health Issues

Prilosec Under Investigation: Poses Serious Health Issues

A study published in two leading medical journals, the Journal of Medical Association (JAMA) and the Journal of American Society of Nephrologists (JASN), has warned of the increased risk of chronic kidney damage that can be caused by a popular heartburn and gastric reflux medications, including Prilosec.

The drug class, of which Prilosec is one of a number of popular brands, are medications used to control heartburn and gastric reflux. However, these are now shown to be associated with a variety of increased risks, and many doctors are now questioning the widespread use of this class of drugs. There has not been an official Prilosec recall.

What Is Prilosec?

Prilosec is part of a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs. About twenty-five years ago, they were designed and approved for use in reducing overproduction of stomach acid, leading to heartburn and acid reflux.

PPIs are marketed under several brands including, Prilosec and Prilosec OTC (omeprazole), Prevacid and Prevacid 24-hour (lansoprazole), Aciphex (rabeprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole), and Nexium (esomeprazole). Current estimates show that these drugs are used by over 15 million people in the United States.

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What Is The Data?

The published study was a five-year study and included participants with no previous kidney damage at the onset of the study. During the study period, participants showed an increased risk of acute interstitial nephritis, or inflammation in the renal tubes of the kidneys. This type of chronic and persistent inflammation leads to many other, more complicated and severe conditions, such as kidney infections and other autoimmune system breakdowns that can lead to other, even more serious, complications involving other organs. With prolonged use participants had an increased risk of kidney disease, chronic kidney damage, and kidney failure. These issues can lead to dialysis or even death. Other factors contributed to the adverse outcomes of the study participants, including a 28% increase with factors such as age and other diseases.

The results showed that of the study population, 15% of those using PPIs were diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.

Should I Be Taking A PPI?

Another issue being discussed in the medical community is the inappropriate use and overuse of PPIs. In fact, some studies have estimated that in many cases there is no appropriate indication for the prescription of a PPI and that frequently the use of PPIs extends beyond the recommended guidelines for use.

A further complication occurs when users of PPIs attempt to discontinue use. A sudden surge in stomach acid when the drugs are discontinued leaves many people feeling much worse than they did before starting the treatment regimen.

Prilosec Recall Inevitable?

While the drug has not officially been recalled yet, the damaging study data combined with the increased number of lawsuits being filed against manufacturers could be a sign that a Prilosec recall is not far down the road.


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