Nexium and Prilosec Lawsuits Involving Kidney Failure and Stroke

Lawsuits involving Nexium and Prilosec continue to mount, with plaintiffs claiming the manufacturers of the drugs neglected to warn physicians and patients of the potential risks of the drugs when used long term. Some of those risks include ischemic stroke, renal failure and damage to the patient’s kidneys. In fact, among those taking multiple dosages of these drugs for one year or longer were found to have a 20-30 percent increased risk of stroke, and a 20-50 percent higher risk of chronic kidney disease. Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid fall under the category of proton pump inhibitors, meaning they reduce the levels of acid in the stomach, and are typically used to treat severe heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

In some cases, Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec may also be prescribed to treat stomach ulcers and infections or to heal damage to the lining of the esophagus resulting from too much acid. An astonishing 15 million Americans received prescriptions for Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid during 2013, however because these medications are now available over-the-counter, it is likely the numbers for those using proton pump inhibitors are considerably higher.

Studies Regarding the Safety of Proton Pump Inhibitor Drugs

One study attempted to determine how safe proton pump inhibitor drugs are by identifying more than 170,000 new users of proton pump inhibitors, then comparing those to more than 20,000 new users of H2 receptor blockers. The drugs which are H2 receptor blockers are also used to minimize stomach acid. During the five-year follow-up study, 15 percent of those using Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid received a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease versus 11 percent of those taking H2 receptor-blocker drugs. This study concluded that, after controlling for external factors, there was a 28 percent increased risk of kidney disease for those who regularly took proton pump inhibitor drugs.

In a JAMA study, researchers from Johns Hopkins University came to similar conclusions regarding the dangers of regularly using a proton pump inhibitor drug. Additional studies seem to bear out these same conclusions. A Canadian Medical Association Journal article released a report in April 2015 which found proton pump inhibitor drug users were more likely to experience “acute kidney injury,” while a Stanford University study found a 16-21 percent increase in the rate of heart attacks among those using proton pump inhibitors.

In addition to the newest revelations regarding kidney failure and stroke for long-time users of proton pump inhibitor drugs, gastroenterologists have been exercising caution for some time when prescribing these drugs, after links to bone fractures, dementia and even an increased risk of infections such as C. difficile were found. In fact, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases published a 2011 study which found that the rates of dementia among those who regularly took proton pump inhibitor drugs was significantly higher than those who did not.

Lawsuits Against the Manufacturers of Proton Pump Inhibitor Drugs

In 2013, AstraZeneca, the manufacturer of Nexium settled a lawsuit for $20 million regarding deceptive marketing strategies used to market the drug to consumers. In 2015, AstraZeneca settled a second lawsuit which alleged the pharmaceutical company had engaged in kickback schemes, violating the False Claims Act. This lawsuit cost the company $7.9 million. Teva Pharmaceuticals paid $24 million after it was determined the company had kept a less expensive Nexium alternative from consumers.

Important Information Regarding Proton Pump Inhibitor Drugs

If you have taken a proton pump inhibitor drug for a significant length of time, it is important that you not stop taking the drug without discussing it with your physician, who will help you taper off your usage of the drug slowly to avoid serious side effects. If you have experienced any type of kidney problem, low bone mineral density, numbness in the legs, arms or face, confusion, trouble speaking, vision loss, difficulty walking, severe headaches or dizziness, it is extremely important that you speak to your doctor immediately.

Getting the Help You Need

If you have suffered an injury as a result of your use of a proton pump inhibitor drug, it could be beneficial for you to speak to an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Nexium or Prilosec injury victims have legal rights and should contact our Huntsville attorneys to protect your legal rights. We not only have a thorough understanding of dangerous drug lawsuits, we also have a solid understanding of injuries resulting from those drugs, as well as the necessary medical treatments. Call Martinson & Beason today for knowledgeable, compassionate help.