Doctors in India are using Proton Pump Inhibitors like Nexium and Prilosec to help treat Cholera patients, but the treatment comes with some serious risks. Cholera is a bacterial disease that causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. It is usually spread through contaminated water and can be deadly if not treated immediately. While Cholera is rare in industrialized countries, it is relatively common in Asian and African countries.

Because Cholera causes vomiting, acid from the stomach regularly rises up and damages the stomach and esophagus. Not only is this painful for Cholera victims, it can cause permanent damage to the esophagus. Doctors in India have started prescribing a class of medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that are designed to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach to prevent damage to the esophagus.

While this provides relief for Cholera patients, it also puts them at risk for developing serious complications. A study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephology in April 2016 found patients taking PPIs like Nexium and Prilosec had a 28% higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease is the loss of kidney function over time. Oftentimes, patients who develop chronic kidney disease require regular dialysis treatment and kidney transplants.

For heartburn sufferers, the risks associated with PPIs far outweigh the benefits, and many believe manufacturers failed to warn consumers of the risks associated with the drug.

A Tennessee man has recently filed a lawsuit against Nexium’s manufacturer, AstraZeneca, claiming Nexium caused him to develop severe, drug-induced, acute interstitial nephritis. The man is undergoing regular dialysis treatments while waiting for a kidney transplant.

As doctors in India continue using PPIs for the treatment of Cholera, Indian patients will likely discover what American patients already know: PPIs can be very dangerous.