COMMONLY USED HEARTBURN MEDICATIONS CAN HAVE DEADLY SIDE EFFECTS
KIDNEY PROBLEMS ALLEGEDLY CAUSED BY THE USE OF NEXIUM AND PRILOSEC MAY HAVE BEEN AVOIDED
Nexium, Prilosec and other similar Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are used by more than 15 million Americans to combat the effects of heartburn, acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). While these drugs are quite effective at reducing stomach acid, their use can also lead to major kidney problems including kidney failure, chronic kidney disease and kidney inflammation (acute interstitial nephritis).
PPIs have been among the top-selling drugs in the United States for many years. In 2013 they generated more than $10 billion in sales for their manufacturers. Why are they so popular? These drugs have been aggressively marketed to consumers and doctors who believe them to be safe. Who doesn’t know about the “little purple pill”?
Taking Nexium or Prilosec makes sense if you have a chronic problem with stomach acid. But the occasional case of mild heartburn may not need to be treated with a PPI. For that, antacid medicines like Tums, Rolaids, and Maalox may likely work just as well. In fact, it takes several days for PPIs to have their full effect on acid secretion, so an H2 blocker such as Tums may be more effective for a mild, short-term problem with stomach acid. Yet, people often take PPIs under the mistaken assumption that they are the better medication in all circumstances.
According to a JAMA Internal Medicine article published in February, 25%-70% of users were prescribed PPIs without appropriate medical need. The article further states that the duration of use for these drugs often extends beyond the recommended guidelines, increasing the risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD). And a study published in the April 2015 CMAJ Open found that PPIs can cause a sudden decrease in kidney function, otherwise known as Acute Kidney Injury (AKI). Based on the study, the researchers recommended that doctors consider the risks to their patients during treatment with PPIs and discouraged the indiscriminate use of the drugs.
HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS AND THE PUBLIC WERE NOT WARNED OF THE SEVERE SIDE EFFECTS
The public and healthcare providers are just learning about the kidney risks associated with Nexium and Prilosec. However, manufacturers knew of the risks for more than 10 years. The FDA reported problems involving Nexium as far back as 2004. The drug makers did not warn consumers or doctors of the risks until the 2014, when the FDA required warning labels to be added to the drugs. This label warned about the risk of acute interstitial nephritis which had been linked to the drugs.
If consumers and doctors had been aware of the kidney issues from Nexium and Prilosec, they may have made a different choice about taking or prescribing the drugs.
The attorneys at Davis & Crump, P.C. are investigating possible defective drug lawsuits for clients who have experienced kidney-related medical problems. Both prescription and over-the-counter claims are being researched.
If you or someone close to you has suffered injury because of these drugs, let us look into your potential case. There is no fee unless we make a successful recovery for you.