Prilosec is a popular heartburn and acid reflux medication, but according to a recent study, users of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may have a higher risk of developing serious kidney damage. The increased risk is especially troubling as it is known as the “silent kidney disease” as it may go undetected for years, with virtually no symptoms.
The February 2017 edition of Kidney International, published the study results that, “indicate kidney problems can develop silently and gradually over time, eroding kidney function and leading to long-term kidney damage or even renal failure.” These research results along with previous studies, are leading to investigation of complaints concerning Prilosec and potential kidney damage.
Personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are actively reviewing potential lawsuits on behalf of individuals who have been injured by adverse side effects from pharmaceuticals, including Prilosec.
How PPIs Work
PPIs work by reducing the amount of acid the stomach produces. Instead of chemically neutralizing stomach acid the way other antacid medications do, PPIs inhibit the production of acid by reducing the activity of proton-potassium pumps in the large cells in the lining of the stomach that secrete hydrochloric acid.
There were 125,596 participants who were new users of PPIs and 18,436 were new users of a different heartburn medicine known as H2 blockers. Over five years of analysis following up, researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis discovered that over half of those using PPIs who developed chronic kidney damage and end-stage renal failure did not suffer acute kidney problems. Only 7.67 percent of the H2 blocker group developed chronic kidney damage without experiencing acute kidney problems and 1.27 percent developed end-stage renal failure.
Researchers said that the study results show that onset of acute kidney problems may not be a dependable warning sign to reveal the decline of kidney function among individuals who are taking PPIs, including Prilosec, and that the clinicians should monitor the kidney function of their patients who use PPIs, regardless of the absence of acute kidney problems, according to Nature World News.
A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2016, researchers found a 20 to 50 percent increased risk of chronic kidney disease linked to Prilosec and other antacid medications. JAMA also reported that over 15 million people use prescription PPIs. Some researchers have indicated that up to 70 percent of these patients could be treated with a different medicine. Up to 25 percent of those patients who have been taking PPIs for a long time could stop using the medication without having the same problems.
In addition, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology in April 2016, said that PPIs, including Prilosec, may lead to an increased risk of kidney disease and kidney failure.
This latest study, however, is more disturing, especially because Prilosec is available over-the-counter (OTC) and many people take this drug and other PPIs without doctor supervision and for too long a period of time.
Ziyad Al-Aly, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University’s School of medicine and senior author of the study said, patients should only use PPIs if necessary and to be sure their doctors are aware of what their patients are taking. Health care professionals advise individuals who have taken Prilosec for longer than six weeks, to speak to their doctor about discontinuing the medication, and get information about the risk of chronic kidney damage. Prilosec OTC contains the same active ingredient, omeprazole, and delivers the same dosage as 20 mg. prescription Prilosec.
Prilosec Warnings and Lawsuits
With the recent studies that show Prilosec kidney damage, complaints are being investigated from hundreds of heartburn sufferers who claim the medication caused chronic kidney disease. or acute kidney injury.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a reaction to the studies and mounting complaints released a public warning. This triggered many of the PPI lawsuits to be filed against Astra Zeneca, Prilosec’s manufacturer. Diarrhea and bone fracture, along with other PPI side effects appear in the official FDA medication guide revised in December 2015, for lansoprazole (Prevacid), but there appears to be no mention of kidney dysfunction.
Many plaintiffs who have come forward allege that Astra Zeneca neglected to disclose vital information to the public concerning the potential risk of developing serious kidney disease or damage.
Information and Advice Regarding Pharmaceutical Side Effects
If you or someone you know has been injured by medication such as Prilosec, you may be eligible for valuable compensation. The attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).