Heartburn drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the most commonly used drugs in the world. About 15 million Americans use PPIs, either in prescription or over-the-counter form. Brand names include Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium.
The drugs have long been touted as a safe way to relieve heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux. They work by inhibiting the production of acid in your stomach, which helps to relieve symptoms but appears to have a number of unintended consequences as well, including for your kidneys.
PPIs have previously been linked to a kidney disorder called acute interstitial nephritis. Now researchers have linked them to the risk of chronic kidney disease, prompting experts to call for more caution in their use.