Prilosec Lawsuits: Kidney Complications
Commonly asked questions about Prilosec (omeprazole):
- What is Prilosec?
- How does Prilosec work?
- What causes heartburn?
- How is Prilosec administered?
- What are the side effects of Prilosec?
- What are serious Prilosec side effects?
- Has legal action against Prilosec been taken?
What Is Prilosec?
Prilosec (omeprazole) is a medication used to treat frequent heartburn. Introduced in 1989, Prilosec was the first proton pump inhibitor (PPI) approved by the FDA. Unlike other acid reflux drugs, Prilosec and other PPI medications are not intended for immediately relief of symptoms. Instead, they are designed to be taken daily to relieve symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition marked by frequent and painful acid indigestion.
Prilosec is produced by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, the same company that created Prilosec’s successor, Nexium. Throughout the 1990s, the drug was an extremely popular option for people suffering from chronic heartburn. In 2001, the year before the original patent for the drug expired, Prilosec posted global sales of $5.6 billion. That same year, AstraZeneca introduced Nexium to combat the potential hit to market share Prilosec would take after generics were introduced. Since then, Prilosec sales have sharply decreased, posting sales figures less than $500 million for the first time in 2013. Nexium, however, has dominated PPI sales worldwide.
After generic versions of omeprazole became available, Prilosec announced the first over-the-counter PPI medication, Prilosec OTC. This version of Prilosec became available to anyone without a prescription who suffered from chronic heartburn. Since its introduction, several other non-prescription PPIs have hit the market.
How Does Prilosec Work?
Prilosec’s active ingredient, omneprazole, blocks the creation of stomach acid responsible for heartburn. The lining of the stomach contains gastric glands with special cells known as parietal cells. These cells secrete hydrochloric acid, which is used in the digestion process to chemically break down food. Omneprazole inhibits small transporters inside the parietal cells known as proton pumps, which halts the production of stomach acid.
Prilosec OTC works in the same way, however is only to be used for symptoms of chronic heartburn and GERD. The prescription Prilosec is also prescribed to treat more serious complications such as gastric ulcer caused by certain types of infection.
What Causes Heartburn?
When humans eat, the body increases the production of stomach acid in order to fuel the digestive system. Some foods and beverages can cause more severe heartburn than others. Foods like meats, fruits, vegetables, and foods containing dairy have an effect on the ability for the esophagus to keep acid down. Beverages such as coffee, tea, and alcoholic drinks can also be troublesome. Although, food and beverage triggers can vary from person to person.
Eating large portions can also increase acid indigestion. The more full the stomach becomes, the more pressure is applied to the LES, which is the sphincter at the end of the esophagus that seals acid off from the stomach. This can lead to the LES allowing stomach acid move up through the esophagus, causing heartburn.
Even the worst chronic heartburn can be managed by eating a healthy and proper diet. Acid reflux is also linked to obesity, and symptoms can be minimized by losing weight.
How Is Prilosec Administered?
Prilosec is available in prescription and over-the-counter forms. Dosages and treatment duration range depending on the condition and doctor recommendation. Prilosec tablets range from 20mgs to 120mg, depending on the condition being treated. Prilosec OTC is generally sold in 20mg tablets and should be taken in 14-day intervals. This medication is not recommended for people who suffer from infrequent heartburn, but rather, those who deal with chronic heartburn or symptoms of GERD.
What Are The Side Effects of Prilosec?
Prilosec can cause side effects in some patients. As always, a doctor should be consulted before taking proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec. Known common side effects of Prilosec include:
|Gas or Stomach Pain||Nausea or Vomiting|
In some cases, patients may experience more serious side effects. Although rare, these complications can cause more serious problems. You should consult a doctor if you experience any of the following after taking Prilosec:
|Severe Diarrhea||Bloody Stool|
|Dizziness or Confusion||Fast or Uneven Heartrate|
|Muscle Cramps or Weakness||Seizure|
What Are Serious Prilosec Side Effects?
Unfortunately, several recent studies and reports have pointed to serious side effects that may be associated with Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors. For this reason, people who believe they have been wrongfully harmed by the medication have filed lawsuits against the drug manufacturers.
Prilosec & Kidney Disease & Injury
In February 2016, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that aimed to identify a link between PPI medications and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Between February 1996 and December 2011, over 10,000 participants in an already existing study were analyzed. Researchers studied patients who took PPI medications daily, and used people who used H2 blockers, another type of heartburn medication, were used as a negative control.
The study concluded that the use of proton pump inhibitor drugs is associated with a higher risk of incident CKD. They went on to recommend that future research should look to discover whether limiting PPI use reduces the risk of CKD.
Prilosec & Dementia
Dementia encompasses a broad range of degenerative brain diseases that affects 36 million people worldwide. Examples of dementia include Alzheimer’s Disease, vascular dementia, and lewy body dementia. Dementia can cause cognitive impairment, memory distortions, and behavior disorders, among many other symptoms. There is no cure for dementia, but some forms can be treated do reduce the severity of the symptoms. Dementia can be lifelong, but usually sets in during the later stages of life.
Some research has been conducted that has linked Prilosec and other PPIs to an increased risk of dementia.
One study, published on JAMA Neurology in April 2016, suggested that there was evidence that PPIs can increase the risk of dementia in elderly patients.In their conclusion, the researchers note “The avoidance of PPI medication may prevent the development of dementia.” Although, they encouraged future research to be conducted regarding this outcome.
Has Legal Action Against Prilosec Been Taken?
Due to the increased risk of serious complications, several patients who took PPIs such as Prilosec are filing lawsuits against the companies that manufacture these drugs. Many lawsuits are still pending, and some have already reached settlements.
In 2015, AstraZeneca settled a $20 million class action lawsuit that alleged the company was engaging in deceptive marketing tactics. This was not the first time the company was accused a unethical practices, as a similar case was also settled in 2008.
Although there have not yet been any settlements regarding adverse side effects of Prilosec, lawsuits are being investigated for serious kidney complications. Experts expect large settlements to be reached in these cases.
Our No Fee Promise on Prilosec Cases
You can afford to have our great team of Prilosec lawyers on your side. If you choose us, it literally costs you nothing to get started. We promise you in writing:
- No money to get started
- We pay all case costs and expenses
- No legal fees whatsoever unless you receive a Prilosec settlement
- Phone calls are always free
We will listen to your story and answer any questions you have. If you have claim, we will begin work immediately.
WARNING: There are strict time deadlines for filing Prilosec lawsuit claims.