Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuits: Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid & Other PPI Complications
Proton Pump Inhibitors, or PPIs, are a specific type of medication used to relieve symptoms of acid reflux, heartburn, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). They work by reducing the amount of stomach acid produced by the glands in the stomach. The first PPI, omeprazole, was released in the United States in 1990 and sold under the brand name Prilosec. Along with it’s European counterpart Losec, omeprazole quickly became one of the world’s best selling drugs.
After 13 years on the market as a prescription medication, the FDA approved an over-the-counter version of Prilosec in 2003. With the advent of additional OTC proton pump inhibitors, these drugs have consistently ranked in the top grossing medications in the country for years. In fact, approximately 15 million Americans use and/or are prescribed PPIs, making it the most commonly prescribed type of drug in the United States.
Proton pump inhibitors are prescribed to treat conditions such as:
|Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease||Acid Peptic Disease|
|Peptic or Stomach Ulcers||Acid Reflux|
What are the Side Effects of Proton Pump Inhibitors?
Like most medications, PPIs have a range of normal side effects that can affect the user. It is also important to note that stomach acid is responsible for fighting dangerous bacteria in the stomach. Because PPIs reduce the production of this acid, the user can become more susceptible to bacterial infections. However, these occurrences are rare. Below are some common side effects associated with most proton pump inhibitors.
Do Proton Pump Inhibitors Cause Serious Complications?
Unfortunately, there has been concern over additional dangerous side effects that may be associated with the use of proton pump inhibitors. Research conducted over the last decade has brought about concern regarding PPIs and the effect they have on the heart, kidneys and mental health. Below are some of the most serious complications believed to be associated with proton pump inhibitors.
|Kidney Injury||Bone Fractures|
Proton Pump Inhibitor Research & Clinical Studies
The concern over serious complications associated with proton pump inhibitors has been brought on by a series of studies and reports that have been conducted on these drugs. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology concluded that taking PPIs may dramatically increase the risk of kidney failure and kidney disease. The study looked at data from over 170,000 patients who were currently using PPIs and compared those results to a control group of over 20,000 individuals who were using a proton pump inhibitor alternative. The study determined there was a significant difference in the rates of acute kidney injury and acute interstitial nephritis in patients who took PPIs compared to those who did not.
Other reports have produced similar findings. The Journal of the American Medical Association released findings that proton pump inhibitor users are significantly more likely to suffer from chronic kidney failure. The Canadian Medical Association Journal also released a report in April 2015 that examined over 290,000 PPI users. They found that users of these medications were much more likely to experience acute kidney injury.
A handful of studies have pointed to other serious complications associated with PPI use. In June 2015, researchers at Stanford University published a large data-mining study that looked at medical records of over 3 million Americans. Depending on the statistical approach they used, researchers found a 16-21% increase in the rate of heart attack in users of PPIs compared to non-users. The higher rate of heart attack was also observed in “otherwise healthy PPI users under age 45”.
Cognitive decline has also been an unfortunate occurrence linked to proton pump inhibitors. The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases published a seven-year study in 2011 that studied over 70,000 individuals 75 years of age or older who initially did not suffer from dementia. From 2004 to 2011, almost 30,000 of these patients were diagnosed with some form of dementia. Almost 3,000 patients in the study were regularly using a PPI. Researchers determined that the rate of dementia in these patients was significantly higher than in patients who were not taking proton pump inhibitors.
Proton Pump Inhibitor Medications
Ever since omeprazole was approved by the FDA in 1989, several other PPI medications have been introduced to the market. Initially, these medications were prescription only, however, in recent years some of these drugs have been approved for over the counter use. The chart below contains information about many of the current PPIs in use today.
|Rabeprazole||AcipHex||1999||EISAI, Co., Ltd.|
|Omeprazole/Sodium Bicarbonate||Zegerid||2004||Salix Pharmaceuticals|
Proton Pump Inhibitor Alternatives
Individuals who suffer from chronic acid reflux do have treatment options other than proton pump inhibitors. Before prescribing PPIs, doctors often recommend a patient try using antacids, a type of medication that neutralizes stomach acid and reduces the amount of acid that is refluxed into the esophagus. However, for patients who suffer from chronic heartburn, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), antacids may not be enough to combat their condition.
Another type of medication commonly used to treat acid indigestion is Histamine H2 receptor antagonists, commonly known as H2 blockers. These medications work to reduce the production of stomach acid, as well as make stomach juices less acidic, so that the esophagus becomes less irritated. Doctors will usually prescribe H2 blockers to patients who suffer from chronic heartburn that is not controlled by antacids. Popular H2 blockers include Pepcid and Zantac.
Legal Action Against Proton Pump Inhibitors
In the last few years, multiple lawsuits against PPI manufacturers have been settled for large amounts. In 2013, Nexium manufacturer AstraZeneca settled a lawsuit that alleged deceptive marketing tactics were used in promoting the product. The class action lawsuit settled for $20 million.
Then, in February 2015, AstraZeneca settled another lawsuit for $7.9 million against the United States Government alleging that the company engaged in a kickback scheme that was in violation of the False Claims Act.
Another PPI manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceuticals, settled a class action lawsuit for $24 million in June 2015. This lawsuit alleged that Teva intentionally withheld a generic version of Nexium off the market after it was found that they were paid off by AstraZeneca.
Studies and reports on PPI complications coupled with the recent history of lawsuits against these companies has prompted attorneys to investigate cases for patients who have been harmed by these drugs. If you believe a PPI medication is responsible for complications you or your loved one has suffered, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and recover compensation.
Start Your Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuit Claim
Our PPI lawyers will help you file your lawsuit. To get started, you can:
- Submit the Free Case Review Box on this page, or
- Call (866) 280-3417 any time of day to tell us about your case.
We will listen to your story and answer your questions. If you have claim, we will start immediately.
WARNING: There are strict time deadlines for filing proton pump inhibitor lawsuit claims.