Patients who use prescription or over-the-counter medications known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to treat acid reflux or other gastrointestinal conditions may face an increased risk of heart attack, kidney damage, kidney failure, or other renal complications.
If you or a loved one have suffered kidney problems or a heart attack after taking PPIs such as Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, and Zegerid, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the makers of these drugs.
PPIs and Kidney Damage
The long-term use of PPIs has been linked to an increased risk of kidney problems, including:
- Kidney failure
- Kidney disease
- Interstitial nephritis
- Acute tubular necrosis (ATN)
According to a 2016 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, PPI users are more likely to develop chronic kidney disease or acute kidney injury than non-users. Another study published in 2017 by the New England Journal of Medicine found PPI users were more likely to develop kidney disease or kidney failure than patients taking H2 blockers – an older class of acid reducers that includes Zantac, Pepcid, and Tagamet.
Researchers behind the JAMA study wrote that because of the widespread use of PPIs, the potential link between these drugs and an increased risk of kidney problems could have a significant public health impact. The study’s authors estimated that as many as 25% of patients taking PPIs could safely stop using these medications in order to reduce their risk of kidney failure or kidney damage.
Studies have linked the use of PPIs to an increased risk of heart attack, heart failure, and other cardiovascular side effects.
A 2015 study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that PPI users are 16-21% more likely to suffer a heart attack. Even more alarmingly, researchers found that patients using PPI were twice as likely to die from cardiovascular causes.
Another study published in 2016 suggested that this increased heart attack risk may result from increased aging of the blood vessels in patients who use PPIs. Researchers found that PPIs may damage the ability of lysosomes to clear waste from the endothelial cells – a slick “Teflon”-like coating inside blood vessels that prevents arterial plaque and blood clots. This cellular waste buildup can lead to premature aging of the endothelial cells, limiting their ability to protect the blood vessels and increasing the risk of heart attack or other cardiovascular complications.
What are Proton Pump Inhibitors?
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a class of drugs designed to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach for patients with certain gastrointestinal disorders. PPIs work by blocking the gastric proton pump from secreting acid into the stomach. This helps to reduce symptoms in patients with GERD or other gastrointestinal conditions caused by excess stomach acid.
PPIs have been approved by the FDA for long-term use in patients with a number gastroenterological conditions, including Barrett’s esophagus, esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastric bleeding from NSAIDs, H. pylori-negative peptic ulcers, and other disease. PPIs have also been approved for short term use in patients with low grade esophagitis, peptic ulcers caused by H. pylori, stress ulcers, dyspepsia, and to prevent upper GI bleeding in patients who undergo an endoscopy.
PPIs are roughly twice as effective at reducing the production of stomach acid as H2 blockers, which were the most commonly prescribed stomach acid producers before PPIs went on the market. Since the first PPI medications were introduced in the 1980s, these drugs have become one of the most commonly prescribed classes of medications in the world.
Some of the most commonly prescribed PPIs include:
- Aciphex (rabeprazole)
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Protonix (pantoprazole)
- Zegerid (omeprazole with sodium bicarbonate)
Over the last decade, many of these medications – including Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, and Zegerid – were approved by the FDA for over-the-counter use, making them even more widely available to patients in the U.S. than ever before.
Lawsuits Filed on Behalf of Patients Hurt by PPIs
If you or a loved one have suffered kidney damage or a heart attack while taking proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, or Zegerid, you may qualify to file a lawsuit over your injuries against the manufacturers of these drugs. The first step in determining whether you qualify to file a lawsuit is to speak with an experienced pharmaceutical litigation attorney who can advise you regarding your legal rights and walk you through the first steps in filing a case.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have filed lawsuits on behalf of hundreds of patients who were injured by dangerous drugs. When pharmaceutical companies fail to ensure that their products are safe for use, we believe that they should be held accountable for the injuries and deaths caused by these medications in a court of law.
Heygood, Orr & Pearson is committed to ensuring that all Americans have access to experienced, professional legal counsel to ensure that their rights are fully protect. In many case, our attorneys have invested tens of thousands of dollars on behalf of a client in order to take their case to trial. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we are committed to achieving justice for our clients, whatever the cost.
For more information about lawsuits against the manufacturers of PPIs and to find out whether you qualify to take legal action, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free legal consultation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few brief questions to get started.