Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid Complications
Recent studies indicate a causal relationship between proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications and kidney damage and disease. These drugs are available by prescription and over-the-counter and work by blocking acid release into the stomach. They are used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and peptic ulcer disease (PUD). Many people also take PPIs to manage heartburn and indigestion caused by a variety of issues. Initially, they were believed to be safe, but new research shows the use of PPIs, especially on a long-term basis, can be extremely dangerous.
Manufacturers of three of the most popular name brand PPI medications are currently facing legal action. These drugs include:
Nexium, marketed as an updated alternative to Prilosec, works by reducing excess stomach acid. For most users, it is an effective tool for managing heartburn and other related gastrointestinal conditions. Unfortunately, there is also evidence use of Nexium increases the risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Chronic kidney disease occurs when damage is done over time to the kidneys, leaving them unable to perform as they should. Reduced kidney function allows toxins to build up in the bloodstream because it is not properly filtered through the kidneys and pushed out through urination.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medication Association (JAMA) showed a 20 to 50 percent increase in incidences of kidney disease in patients using Nexium and other PPIs. The study reviewed the medical records of more than 10,000 PPI users over the course of 13 years. Long-term users showed the greatest risk for developing chronic kidney disease.
Previously, PPI use was known to increase the risk for acute kidney events in users with existing kidney damage, but this most recent study showed that risk to be much higher than assumed and also showed there is potential for users of PPIs without existing kidney issues to develop CKD. This means users who assume they are safe and can use PPIs without concern experienced problems as a direct result of their use of the drugs.
Users of Nexium have taken legal action against the drug’s manufacturer, AstraZeneca, including a class action lawsuit that resulted in a $20 million settlement after victims had claimed the company used deceptive marketing practices to promote Nexium.
Prilosec, the original in the class of PPI medications, was approved for market in 1988. When its patent expired, it was re-introduced to the market as Nexium. Like Nexium, it works by blocking proton pumps from releasing acid into the stomach. Prilosec became available for over-the-counter use in 2003 and earned AstraZeneca an estimated $400 million in sales in 2013. It is one of the top five over-the-counter medications on the market today. Prilosec was part of AstraZeneca’s recent $20 million class action settlement.
Prevacid, a PPI medication manufactured by Takeda, was once the second highest selling prescription medication in the United States with annual sales of more than $3 billion. Like Prilosec and Nexium, Prevacid is also now available over-the-counter.
It is believed that many users of these OTC PPI medications are taking the drugs without their doctor’s advice or knowledge, completely unaware of the risk they face for kidney damage. In some cases, these users might not even suffer from the conditions the drugs are intended to treat – they merely experience symptoms of heartburn related to other causes and use the powerful medications unnecessarily.
PPI Side Effects & Lawsuits
Prevacid was also part of the PPI study that showed an increased risk for kidney damage and CKD, even in users that had no previous kidney damage before using the medications. Users of these drugs are taking legal action against PPI manufacturers Takeda and AstraZeneca, seeking compensation for their health issues and need for ongoing medical care due to kidney damage.
If you have experienced chronic kidney disease or suffered injuries from other side effects of Prilosec, Nexium, or Prevacid, you could be eligible for monetary compensation for medical costs, loss of wages, and pain and suffering. Consider having your case evaluated by legal experts.