Acid Reflux Medications May Increase Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease

Maybe you ate too many, hot and spicy tacos. Maybe it was the chips and salsa. Even tomatoes, cheese, chocolate, and alcohol can cause heart burn. When you get that telltale feeling rising up from your gut, you know you've got to do something about it.

What do most people do who experience acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease? Some grab the nearest over-the-counter medication and hope for relief.

Others pay their doctor a visit to get prescription-grade antacids, also called proton pump inhibitors. And it could be one reason some people have a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease than others.

In a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Johns Hopkins University researchers wanted to find out if there was a connection between proton pump inhibitor medications and chronic kidney disease.

They looked at the medical records of more than 250,000 people. And they found that people who take proton pump inhibitors on a regular basis are 20 to 50 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease than those who don't. Is it significant? It is if you're among the estimated 15 million people in the United States who take these medications to control acid reflux.

Medication is certainly one way to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease. But this study based solely on medical data suggests that taking proton pump inhibitor drugs long-term may damage your kidneys and have other negative side effects. Lead researcher Dr. Morgan Grams said you should only use proton pump inhibitor medications when you really need them, and only for a short period of time.

Before you start popping pills at the first sign of heart burn, you should know there are other ways to cut back on acid reflux without medication. If you smoke, quit. If you drink alcohol, quit or cut back on the amount you drink. And get real about adjusting your diet to protect your health. Need a little help planning renal-friendly meals? Take a look at our large selection of meals and entrees for a Renal Diet, all made from fresh ingredients, and ready to eat in just minutes.