Proton pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prilosec, and Protonix are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S. But recent studies have shown that these heartburn drugs can also increase a patient’s risk of developing dementia, kidney problems, or a heart attack. Now, thanks to a new study, doctors are beginning to figure out why.
Several recent studies have shown that patients who use PPIs are more likely to suffer a number of serious and potentially fatal complications. A 2015 study found that PPI users were 20% more likely to suffer a heart attack than patients using H2 blockers like Zantac. Another study, published in 2016, found that PPI users were twice as likely to develop kidney failure and 28% more likely to suffer chronic kidney diseases than patients taking H2s. Other studies have linked PPIs to an increased risk of dementia.
Although several studies had linked PPIs to an increased risk of serious complications, health experts were unsure of how these complications were occurring. Because scientists could not demonstrate a common cause of these side effects, some doctors were suspicious that PPIs were really more dangerous than H2 blockers.
Cause of Increased Side Effects Risk of PPIs
According to the new study – published in the journal Circulation Research – proton pump inhibitors cause damage to the lysosomes in the body’s cells. Lysosomes are organelles which help removed waste from the cells. When the lysosomes aren’t working properly, waste can build up, causing cells to age prematurely. This premature cell aging did not occur in cells that were exposed to H2 blockers.
Researchers involved in the study that the premature aging caused by lysosome damage in the cells is the common mechanism that is causing the increased risk side effects associated with taking PPIs. “We now have a plausible mechanism that unifies how PPIs are associated with heart attack, vascular dementia and renal failure,” said John Cooke, lead researcher on the study and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Regeneration at the Houston Methodist Research Institute.
Because many patients take PPIs to prevent reflux and heartburn for years at a time – much longer than the duration recommended by the FDA – many PPI users may be at risk of developing cardiovascular problems, kidney disease, or dementia as a result of using these acid-reducing drugs. Health experts who reviewed the new study called for additional research to confirm the side effects associated with the use of PPIs.
Pharmaceutical Liability Lawsuits Filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with kidney damage, cardiovascular problems, or other side effects linked to proton pump inhibitors, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an attorney who can advise you about your legal rights and help you find out whether you may qualify to file a case.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have filed numerous lawsuits on behalf of individuals who have been harmed by dangerous drugs, defective medical devices, or other dangerous products. Heygood, Orr & Pearson has tried hundreds of cases to verdict and achieved settlements in hundreds more, including many that involved patients who suffered complications caused by prescription medications. Our law firm believes that that when drugs companies or other medical products manufacturers fail to ensure their products are safe, they should be held accountable for injuries they cause in a court of law.
For more information about filing a PPI lawsuit and to learn more about whether you may qualify to file a case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free legal consultation with our attorneys. 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 about your case to get started.