News Correspondent, abptakmaa, Kolkata, 11th Nov 2019 : Recent report of incorporating a warning label in the packaging of antacids is sure to concern the common Bengali Babu, who would otherwise not hesitate to pop in an antacid pill every now and then to battle his acid reflux or ‘ambal’ as it is commonly called. As per studies, long term consumption of antacids can lead to kidney disorders. Clearing the air around this, Dr. Partha Karmakar, Consultant Nephrologist at Fortis Hospital Anandapur mentioned, “There is a wide variety of antacids available in the market and this report refers to a certain PPI or Proton Pump Inhibitors group of antacids. Long term use of this group of antacids has shown to lead to 2 types of kidney disease namely Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).”
PPI group of antacids like pantoprazole, omeprazole, rabeprazole are strong medications prescribed by medical practitioners to control frequent heartburn or complaints of excess flatulence. However, the problem arises as these are commonly available over-the-counter and people generally opt for it without doctor’s knowledge or prescription. “I have had patients who have come to me with elevated creatinine levels and on looking deeply into his medication history, it has been found that the patient has been consuming PPI group antacid for the past 10 years. On putting off this medication, we have observed major improvement in the kidney function. Such cases are quite common as people often carry the misconception that antacids should be taken as a preventive measure with medications for hypertension or antibiotics. Even without consulting the doctor, this group of patients resort to the most easily available antacid at the local chemist,” exclaims the renal specialist.
What is more worrying is that the renal complications due to consumption of PPI antacids do not really display any major symptoms. “More often than not, the patients who suffer from kidney disease due to long term consumption of antacids are primarily asymptomatic ie. do not demonstrate any symptoms. The common symptoms relating to kidney disease like swelling of feet or loss of appetite are totally missing in such cases and by the time the patients reach the doctors, their condition is already worrisome,” said Dr. Partha Karmakar.
Does this mean that antacids are to be avoided completely? “No medication prescribed by your doctor should be avoided completely but one should not consume medications without doctor’s advice. When it comes to PPI group of antacids, these are used for treatment of severe cases of heartburn and even if prescribed by your doctor, the period of consumption will be restricted to a maximum period of 8 weeks. In other cases, we resort to another group of antacids called H2 Blockers comprising the likes of ranitidine and famotidine, which are known to be safer options” explains Dr. Karmakar. Publicity : Carpe Diem.