Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) treat heartburn and acid reflux by lowering the amount of stomach acid produced. In 2016, two studies suggested that long-term use of PPIs may be connected to an increased risk of chronic kidney disease. The study indicates caution should be taken when using the medications and should be limited to situations that are medically necessary.
Why People Take PPIs
Many Americans suffer from acid reflux and use PPIs to relieve the discomfort of heartburn and similar ailments such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Despite PPIs benefits in providing relief, there have been an increasing number of lawsuits involving various PPI drugs, as the alleged cause of kidney disease.
The current number of PPI lawsuits consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) is about one hundred, but some industry watchdogs suggest that cases under investigation may grow to 5,000 or higher. An MDL enables complex lawsuits to be consolidated in one court under one judge. This helps to streamline the process by avoiding duplicative discovery, lowering costs, thereby increasing efficiency.
PPI Adverse Side Effects
Lansoprazole (Prevacid) is a PPI drug manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. Other popular brand name PPIs are Nexium and Prilosec. Aside from alleged PPI kidney disease, additional side effects include diarrhea and bone fractures, linked with taking PPI drugs for extended periods of time. PPI hip fracture has been an issue for a number of plaintiffs. PPI hip fracture may lead to debilitating and painful health issues that in some cases may require hip replacement. For the elderly, a fall may have serious, even life-threatening consequences.
Higher doses of proton pump inhibitors are allegedly associated with the risk for PPI hip fracture.
The product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have extensive experience representing clients in drug injury lawsuits. Our lawyers are actively reviewing potential lawsuits on behalf of individuals who have been injured by pharmaceuticals, including Prevacid and other PPIs.
FDA and Consumer Advocacy Intervention
The potential for kidney problems is the most common complaint associated with PPI side effects. Kidney damage issues formed the basis for a petition in 2011. The petition was to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and was called for by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. The FDA updated warnings for PPI medications over the potential for kidney problems three years later, in 2014.
Different studies released in 2015 and 2016 indicate that the potential for acute kidney injury and acute interstitial nephritis increases when Prevacid, or the equivalent PPI is used for 30 days of longer.
The guide for Prevacid connected to the Takeda USA website alludes to acute interstitial nephritis and says, “Acute interstitial nephritis has been observed in patients taking PPIs including PREVACID (sic.) Acute interstitial nephritis may occur at any point during PPI therapy and is generally attributed to an idiopathic hypersensitivity reaction. Discontinue PREVACID (sic.) if acute interstitial nephritis develops.”
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.
Plaintiffs in PPI side effects lawsuits allege they had no warning about the potential for kidney disease or dysfunction.
According to one study published in January 2016 in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine, the use of PPIs was connected to a 20 to 50 percent increased risk of kidney disease. Researchers, led by Dr. Morgan Grams, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, compared PPI users and non-PPI users. Data was gathered through a national survey of 10,000 people participating in a study on hardening of the arteries. They examined outpatient PPI prescriptions of 250,000 patients in a Pennsylvania health care system.
In both groups, the risk of chronic kidney disease was higher in PPI users over 10 years. Compared to patients who did not take PPIs, those who did were 20 to 50 percent more likely to develop kidney disease. This study also revealed that risk increased with dosage; a twice daily dose was connected to a 46 percent increased risk while a once-daily dose was linked to a 15 percent increased risk.
Legal Information and Advice for Prevacid Users
If you or someone you know suffered adverse side effects involving the use of Prevacid or other PPIs, you may have valuable legal rights. Parker Waichman LLP personal injury lawyers offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact our attorneys at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).