Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) drugs like Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid have been miracle drugs for some people who suffer serious heartburn. For over the last decade, doctors prescribed these drugs to millions of patients under the belief that there was no risk in taking these drugs, only to find out serious side effects exist.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) – including Nexium and Prilosec – are some of the most commonly used medications on the market today. PPIs ease acid reflux by reducing the amount of stomach acid produced by the glands in the lining. Too much acid can result in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which the contents of the stomach can move back into the esophagus, causing discomfort, heartburn, and even damage to the esophagus in extreme cases.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) Nexium and Prilosec are commonly used by millions of patients who struggle daily with indigestion and GERD. While often providing quick relief for immediate symptoms associated with acid reflux, PPIs have been linked to an increasing number of potentially serious side effects.
Prilosec (Omeprazole): is available over the counter as a treatment for frequent heartburn or GERD. With annual U.S. sales exceeding $350 million (2013), Prilosec is the leading OTC proton pump inhibitor (PPI).
Health conditions and side effects associated with the use of Nexium and Prilosec include an increased risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis; higher risk of infection; and even a potentially increased risk of dementia. However, most recently PPIs – including Nexium and Prilosec – have been associated with a variety of serious kidney complications.
Nexium, Prilosec & Kidney Complications
The Relationship Between PPIs and Chronic Kidney Disease
One of the most recent studies comes from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study, which involved over 250,000 people, found the use of PPIs was associated with a 20 to 50 percent higher risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). While those behind the study are clear to point out that it doesn’t directly prove that PPIs cause CKD – due to the fact that the study was designed to determine correlation and not causation – the results show a frightening risk for those taking these medications.
Researchers expressed concern about the frequency at which doctors prescribe these medicines, noting that PPIs are being prescribed for conditions like mild heartburn when the FDA recommends them only for more serious gastrointestinal disorders. One researcher pointed out that up to 90 percent of people taking PPIs don’t exhibit indications – or symptoms – specified by the FDA. The takeaway is that not only do doctors need to be more cautious when prescribing or suggesting PPIs, but they should also be upfront with patients about the risks involved with taking these medications.
Chronic Kidney Disease
26 million people in the U.S. currently have CKD, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Although it might initially cause only mild symptoms, like fatigue, as the disease progresses it can eventually lead to kidney failure and death.
Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease:
- Reduced Appetite
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Nighttime Muscle Cramps
- Swollen Feet and Ankles
- Dry Skin
- Frequent Urination
Related Complications of PPI Use
Users of PPIs might experience side effects, including acute kidney injury (also called acute renal failure) and/or nephritis (kidney inflammation). These related conditions occur when kidneys stop filtering waste from the body, often due to inflammation of tubes surrounding the kidneys. The onset can be quick and the results can be fatal. Symptoms include limited or no urination; blood in urine; swelling due to fluid buildup; and nausea. In worst-case scenarios, patients might depend on the use of dialysis or kidney transplants for survival.
If you believe that you have chronic kidney disease as the result of taking PPIs, contact Pogust Braslow & Millrood. Our attorneys will work with you to explore your legal options and give you a thorough evaluation of your case. Contact Us Today