Millions of Americans use proton pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec to relieve their symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux, and many users stay on the drugs for long periods of time to help keep the symptoms at bay, which new research shows may have serious health consequences for some people.
If you took Nexium, Prilosec OTC, Prevacid, or another heartburn drug for a long period of time, and you have since been diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure, chronic kidney disease or acute kidney injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and medical expenses. Contact an experienced product liability lawyer today to discuss your options for legal recourse.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a class of drugs commonly used to provide long-lasting relief from symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which liquid or food moves up from the stomach to the esophagus. In some cases, proton pump inhibitors like Nexium or Prilosec may be used to treat a peptic or stomach ulcer, or damage to the lower esophagus caused by acid reflux. Some of the most widely-used types of proton pump inhibitors include the following:
Because proton pump inhibitors have been thought in the past to carry few serious side effects, and because some are available without a prescription, many patients stay on the medications for years, without any attempt to reduce or eliminate use of the drugs. However, a growing body of research has shown that proton pump inhibitors may actually pose a risk of serious medical complications, including:
Because Nexium, Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors are designed to block stomach acid, which is essential to the body’s ability to break down micronutrients and absorb iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and magnesium, there have been concerns about the potential for PPIs to cause serious health problems in patients. One of the first studies analyzing the alleged link between proton pump inhibitors and side effects in users was published in October 2006, and researchers involved in the study found an increased risk of hip fractures in patients over 50 who took PPI medications for a long period of time. Another study published in April 2015 found that side effects of proton pump inhibitors may increase the risk of acute kidney injury, which can lead to a sudden loss of kidney function.
In one of the latest studies examining the potential side effects of proton pump inhibitors, researchers working with the Veterans Affairs Clinical Epidemiology Center in Missouri compared the kidney risks associated with PPIs and another class of heartburn drugs called histamine H2-receptor antagonists, or H2 blockers. According to the researchers’ findings, which were published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology in April 2016, users of Nexium, Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors may have a 96% higher risk of suffering kidney failure, and a 28% higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease after five years. These findings are especially troubling, considering many patients remain on heartburn or acid reflux drugs for long periods of time, in order to prevent their symptoms from returning.
Proton pump inhibitors are used by millions of Americans struggling with heartburn, acid reflux and other unpleasant and irritating conditions, and many believe that the makers of these drugs have failed to adequately warn patients and healthcare providers about the possible side effects of PPIs. Even more alarming than the short-term effects of proton pump inhibitors, is the potential for patients who stop using the drugs to produce even more stomach acid than they did before they began the treatment, which could then force them to go back on PPIs and ultimately create a long-term dependence on the potentially dangerous medications. If you believe you have been adversely affected by side effects of a proton pump inhibitor, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. With a knowledgeable PPI injury lawyer on your side, you can ensure that your legal rights are protected, and seek fair and timely reimbursement for your losses.
Nexium is the most widely-used proton pump inhibitor available, and in May 2010, the FDA required the manufacturer of Nexium and other prescription and over-the-counter PPI medications to update their warning labels to highlight the risk of bone problems and fractures of the hip, spine and wrist associated with the use of the drugs. According to the FDA, “those at greatest risk for these fractures received high doses of proton pump inhibitors or used them for one year or more.” The warning labels were updated again in March 2011, when the FDA discovered that the risk of bone fractures from PPIs appeared to be associated with the use of high doses of the medications over a long period of time.
In light of the potential for proton pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec to cause acute interstitial nephritis and other serious health problems in users, the FDA issued another PPI drug safety communication in November 2014, indicating that new warnings would be added to the labels of the heartburn medications reflecting this risk. These changes were instituted in response to a petition filed by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen in 2011, calling for a new black box warning on proton pump inhibitors notifying consumers about the risk of long-term drug dependence and other potentially life-changing side effects.
In the very first lawsuit brought over problems from PPIs, filed on May 3, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, plaintiff Harry Mason alleged that side effects of Nexium caused him to suffer kidney failure. As users of popular proton pump inhibitors become aware of the potential for the medications to cause serious and possibly even life-threatening side effects in users, it is ultimately expected that thousands of Nexium and Prilosec lawsuits will be filed in the coming months. All of the pending lawsuits involve similar allegations that the manufacturers of the acid reflux drugs failed to provide adequate warnings about the potential for proton pump inhibitors to cause kidney failure, chronic kidney disease and other devastating complications in users.
Acid reflux attorneys are currently investigating claims on behalf of patients across the country who believe they have been adversely affected by side effects of Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors, and plaintiffs involved in the litigation allege that if adequate warnings had been provided about potential PPI complications, like kidney failure, chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury, they never would have used the medications in the first place. If you or a loved one has suffered from one or more of these medical conditions, and you believe Nexium or another heartburn drug to be the cause, consult a reputable product liability lawyer to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a proton pump inhibitor lawsuit against the drug manufacturing company, in order to pursue the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.