As lawsuits against popular proton pump inhibitor manufacturers pile up, it is becoming evident that millions of patients suffering from heartburn have been exposed to the risk of developing complications unnecessarily. This comes after the results of a recent research study showed that there were safer alternatives to harmful proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) including Nexium, Protonix, Prilosec, Dexilant and Prevacid.
Proton Pump Inhibitor complications
Proton pump inhibitors are commonly prescribed by doctors for patients suffering from heartburn. However, there are several severe complications that many patients have developed resulting from the use of these medications. These include:
- Kidney failure
- Acute kidney injury
- Acute nephritis and
- Chronic kidney disease
Several lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of popular PPIs for failure to warn consumers as well as the medical community about these side effects. Manufacturers had claimed that the medications were safe for long term use, but failed to warn the public about the possible side effects of using them.
Alternatives to PPIs
It is now emerging that many of the patients suffering complications of the use of PPIs could have easily avoided them if they had used alternative medications. These alternatives include a different class of drugs for heartburn: histamine H2 receptor agonists.
Also known as H2 blockers, these drugs have long been marketed for the treatment of heartburn symptoms. They include:
These drugs have been in the market since the early 1960s. They work to prevent the production of excess acid in the stomach. They are also known to provide relief to heartburn symptoms much faster than proton pump inhibitors and are a much safer alternative. Despite all of this, H2 blockers aren’t as popular as proton pump inhibitors. This is mostly because of aggressive marketing on the part of PPI manufacturers.
Another alternative that has been identified is calcium carbonate tablets. These tablets are commonly marketed as antacids. They include:
- Tums and many others.
It has also been shown that some lifestyle changes can help to reduce or improve heartburn symptoms. These include:
- Avoid eating meals within 2 hours of bedtime
- Eating more slowly
- Sleeping with your head elevated
- Learning about foods that trigger heartburn and steering clear of them
- Stop smoking and reduce your alcohol intake.
If you or someone you know has suffered complications resulting from the use of proton pump inhibitors, you should contact a defective drug lawyer to assess your case and determine whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit for compensation.