A group of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPI) are causing kidney ailments in many Americans. Victims can seek payments for their losses by means of Nexium or Prilosec lawsuits for kidney failure.
What are Nexium, Prilosec?
As for what are Nexium and Prilosec, they’re among PPI drugs intended to treat such maladies as heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, ulcers in the stomach lining, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and esophagitis. They do so by blocking the secretion of acids into the stomach.
Though these treatments can ease the digestive ailments faced by millions of Americans (an estimated 20 percent of Americans use antacids), they also can cause Nexium and Prilosec complications and side effects.
Indeed, a recent study showed that persons using PPI drugs such as Prilosec or Nexium (known as “the Purple Pill”) face a 20 to 50 per cent greater risk of suffering chronic kidney disease (CKD), which in turn can lead to kidney failure, which in turn can lead to death.
Yet Nexium (with active ingredient esomeprazole) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for prescription sales in 2001, then for over the counter sales in 2012. Prescription Nexium is sold by British company AstraZeneca, while OTC Nexium, sold without a prescription as Nexium 24HR, is from Pfizer Inc.
Though FDA-approved in 2003, over the counter Prilosec (with active ingredient omeprazole), sold by Procter & Gamble, also can cause side effects. So can prescription Prilosec, which was FDA-approved in 1989 for sales by AstraZeneca. (As the first PPI prescription drug, Prilosec first was called Losec, but AstraZeneca later changed the name to Prilosec to avoid confusion with another unrelated drug.)
A comparable PPI drug is Prevacid, which the FDA approved in prescription form in 1995 for sales by Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceuticals. In 2009 the FDA approved over-the-counter Prevacid, with the brand name Prevacid24HR, for sales by Novartis.
Such drugs form a huge sales market in America. Biggest seller Nexium alone reportedly has had as much as $6 billion in yearly sales. Thus, drug makers are reaping billions of dollars in sales while innocent Americans suffer.
Prilosec, Nexium FDA Warnings
Despite prior approval by the FDA, subsequent use of such PPI drugs has revealed harmful side effects leading to Prilosec and Nexium FDA warnings.
To date, the FDA has not issued a so-called “black box warning” for either drug. However, in December of 2014 the FDA ordered that their OTC labels be changed to add warnings about nephritis (kidney inflammation) and acute kidney injury.
In 2010 the FDA also had warned that PPI drugs, such as Prilosec and Nexium, could contribute to broken bones. And in 2011, the FDA warned that hypomagnesemia, or low magnesium levels, could occur in persons taking PPI medications.
These FDA warnings for PPI drugs such as Nexium and Prilosec has additional implications for alternative PPI medications, which include Protonix, Prevacid, Aciphex, Zegerid and Dexilant, as well as their generic versions.
FDA Warnings for Nexium, Prilosec Aren’t Enough
Though physicians have been alerted to stop prescribing PPI drugs if acute interstitial nephritis develops, such FDA warnings for Nexium and Prilosec aren’t enough. More needs to be done to ensure users are aware of possible kidney problem symptoms, and to warn that they must seek immediate medical treatment in the face of such symptoms.
Without doing so, some persons may develop worse kidney problems, from chronic kidney disease to end-stage renal failure.
How do you know if you’re having kidney problems? Kidney injury symptoms can include:
- Shortness of Breath
- Variations in fluid balance
- Appetite loss
- Arrhythmia, also called irregular heartbeat
- Pain in the sides
Consult your physician if you experience these symptoms.
Nexium, Prilosec Side Effects
FDA warnings so far have not mentioned all possible Nexium or Prilosec side effects. The kidney problems mentioned by the FDA could evolve into kidney failure and lead to death. Also, dialysis treatments may be needed to combat some side effects.
Among other PPI drug complications are:
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD), meaning the kidneys cannot filter blood effectively
- Acute kidney injury
- Acute kidney inflammation
- Kidney failure
- Kidney-related death
- Broken or fractured bones
- Acute interstitial nephritis
- Clostridium difficile infection
- Arrhythmia and other heart ailments
- Tetany, also known as muscle spasms
Risky Long-Term Nexium, Prilosec Usage
To avoid such PPI drug side effects, it’s important to be aware that long-term usage of Nexium or Prilosec is especially risky.
Over the counter Nexium and Prilosec are not intended to be taken on for more than two-week courses of treatment. But some persons fighting heartburn or other digestive problems take them longer, either upon advice of a physician or on their own.
This is potentially harmful, since these drugs should not be taken on a sustained basis, even in small doses. Also, even their two-week courses of treatment should not be repeated more than twice in a given year.
Nexium, Prilosec Studies Show Dangers
Indeed, studies have shown that long-term consumption of PPI drugs can be dangerous. In fact, the longer people take such drugs, the more risks they face for kidney failure and other serious complications.
By contrast, infrequent users face less dangers. Studies have shown that persons who took PPI drugs for one month or less had three times less risk of kidney failure than those who took such drugs for between one and two years.
Authors of one study also found that as many as seven in every 10 of the 15 million Americans taking prescription PPI drugs receive prescriptions inappropriately. Not everyone, it seems, should be taking such drugs in the first place.
An additional study by Buffalo, NY’s SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Science followed the health of more than 24,000 individuals who, from 2001-2008, developed CKD (chronic kidney disease).
Researchers found that 25 per cent of the kidney disease patients had used a PPI drug. These persons faced nearly two times higher risks of premature death. The study concluded that it is “very reasonable” to assume that PPI drugs can cause CKD.
Besides kidney damage, broken bones also are a hazard from continual use of over-the-counter PPI drugs. Healthcare professionals, the FDA says, “should be aware of the risk for fracture if they are recommending use of OTC PPIs at higher doses or for longer periods of time than in the OTC PPI label.”
Prilosec, Nexium Lawsuits
Americans who have been injured by PPI drugs can explore their chances for successful Prilosec or Nexium lawsuits by contacting the Willis Law Firm.
Such lawsuits can be vital to protect the financial well-being of families whose loved one has suffered kidney damage, including kidney failure (renal failure) leading to kidney removal or transplant surgery. A Nexium lawsuit or Prilosec lawsuit can claim payments for such losses, as well as for the victim’s pain, suffering and lost wages due to a defective drug injury.