Experiencing a severe case of heartburn? Chances are that your doctor will prescribe a strong antacid. There’s a good chance too, that the antacid will be a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). These drugs have proven to be effective in treating dyspepsia, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux, stomach ulcers, peptic ulcers and Zoliinger-Ellison Syndrome.
Life threatening side effects
However, recent studies as well as warnings from the FDA have shown that PPIs can prove dangerous especially when taken for a long time. One study by researchers at the University of Buffalo revealed that PPIs put patients at a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD).
In December of 2014, the FDA issued warnings on health risks related to taking PPIs. Patients are warned that long term usage of the PPIs could result in acute kidney injury, acute interstitial nephritis, kidney failure and chronic kidney disease.
According to the FDA, these additional health risks were not disclosed by the manufacturers of the PPIs.
Several lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of PPIs including Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Takeda. The PPIs in question include Prisolec, Nexium and Prevacid. These products have earned the pharmaceutical industry over $6.3 billion in sales per year.
All these drugs contain Omeprazole as the active ingredient. Omeprazole works by blocking histamine produced in the stomach lining from producing acid. This results in reduced acidity and therefore eases symptoms related to the production of stomach acids.
At least three studies have indicated that the development of AIN is related to the usage of PPIs. The most recent studies on Nexium have shown that patients using this drug are three times more likely to develop AIN compared to the general population.
Several plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of Nexium, Protonix, Prisolec, Dexilant and Prevacid claiming that the drugs caused various life threatening conditions. The most notable case is that filed in August 2016 by George Miullen against AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Nexium.
The plaintiff claims that he developed kidney problems after he began taking Nexium on September 2006. The drug was prescribed to Mullen on several occasions by his doctor. His medical records show that he took the drug several times between September 2006 and 2013.
In 2008, he received the shocking diagnosis of chronic kidney disease. His liability suit against the company includes a suit for failure of the company to warn consumers and healthcare professionals about the risk of developing kidney problems as a result of using the drug.
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