If you or a loved one has suffered kidney damage or failure after being prescribed Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid, you are far from alone. Thousands of patients have experienced severe kidney injury as a result of taking these medications for heartburn, ulcers or indigestion.

The team of pharmaceutical attorneys at Searcy Denney are currently working with victims of kidney injury to hold doctors and drug companies accountable for the deadly side effects of these drugs. If you would like to learn more about how these drugs lead to kidney damage, and how you can seek justice for the harm they may have done to your health, keep reading.

To speak with a Searcy Denney attorney immediately about your situation, call (800) 388-3905.

Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors (or PPIs) are a type of pharmaceutical drug treatment used to treat indigestion, ulcers and other gastrointestinal conditions. They have been in use for many years, and are currently one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the industrialized world.

Commonly prescribed forms of PPIs
and their brand names

Omeprazole (Prilosec, Prilosec OTC)
Lansoprazole (Prevacid, Prevacid 24Hr)
dexlansoprazole (Dexilent, Kapidex)
Rabeprazole (Aciphex)
Pantoprazole (Protonix)
Esomeprazole (Nexium)
omeprazole (Zegarid)

First released on the market in 1988, PPIs are currently being prescribed by doctors with rapidly increasing frequency. A five-year study published in 2016 showed a dramatic upturn in PPI use from 3.1% to more than 25%.

While proton pump inhibitors offer temporary relief to gastrointestinal disease, they cause an array of harmful and long-lasting side effects to other parts of the body. Nevertheless, doctors continue to prescribe PPIs to treat patients with indigestion and heartburn, insisting that there is no conclusive proof of a cause-and-effect link between the drugs and kidney disease.

Uses of Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors work by blocking (or inhibiting) an enzyme that is secreted from the stomach wall. This enzyme breaks down food and produces an acid meant to kill bad bacteria. However, when too much of this acid builds up, it triggers heartburn and, over time, causes painful ulcers to form in the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, the first part of the small intestines.

Did You Know?

NexiumMore than 15 million Americans spent more than $10 billion on prescription PPIs in 2013. Studies suggest that up to 70% of these prescriptions were without indication.

By inhibiting the production of this enzyme, PPI drugs give the stomach a reprieve from the effects of stomach acid, and allow the ulcers time to heal. However, PPI use over the long term has been shown to cause more harm than good. Not only is it common for patients who discontinue PPI use to experience a swift return of their gastrointestinal issues shortly after they quit taking the drugs, but PPI use has been shown to inflict severe damage to the kidneys. Studies conducted over the past ten years reveal alarming links between the use of PPIs and chronic kidney pain, kidney injury and disease and even death from kidney failure.

The Dangers and Adverse Effects of PPIs

Despite the mounting evidence that the harm caused by PPIs outweighs the benefits of the drug, doctors continue to prescribe PPIs in great numbers for gastrointestinal patients. In many cases, doctors continue treating patients with PPIs for much longer than the recommended four-week treatment period. With no way of knowing the damage being done to their bodies, some patients take PPIs for years or even decades at their doctors’ recommendation.

Are you suffering from these side effects of PPI use?

Headache
Diarrhea
Constipation
Abdominal pain
Flatulence
Nausea
Rash
Difficulty swallowing
Persistent vomiting
Blood in feces or vomit
Sudden weight gain or loss

Medical experts have long been calling for doctors to reduce their prescriptions of PPIs. In the words of one medical researcher, “it’s bordering on criminal that the FDA continues to allow these drugs to be prescribed as frequently as they are, and for durations of years or even decades in some cases, given the overwhelmingly large body of evidence documenting the potential harms associated with long-term PPI use.”

Kidney Disease & Failure

Chronic kidney disease (or CKD) is usually linked to previous health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. It occurs when a person’s kidneys become damaged and unable to filter waste products from the blood, or stabilize the body’s electrolyte levels. It does not take long for those waste particles to build up in the blood, causing toxicity in the body. As kidney disease progresses, the body begins to swell with excess fluid, increasing the risk of heart failure from pulmonary edema, as well as hardened arteries and irregular heartbeat, which is caused by the imbalance of electrolytes.

In recent years, chronic kidney disease has been on the rise in the United States, currently affecting about 20 million Americans. Multiple studies in both the United States and abroad suggest that, given the growing number of PPI prescriptions, this rise in CKD is anything but a coincidence.

One study from the SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Science showed that one out of four kidney disease patients had been previously treated with a PPI. This study also found that people taking a PPI had nearly twice the risk of dying prematurely.

Another study, done in collaboration between Johns Hopkins University and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in Australia, revealed that PPI users were up to 50 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease than non-PPI users.

A five-year study published in 2016 showed that PPI users were 28 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease and 96 percent more likely to develop end-stage renal disease than those using other antacid drugs.

The worst part is that kidney injury, damage and disease is not reversible. PPI-linked conditions such as acute kidney injury and acute interstitial nephritis result in permanent kidney damage, requiring lifelong dialysis treatment, and even dangerous kidney transplant procedures. In some cases, doctors will not even detect chronic kidney disease until irreversible damage has been done to the patient, resulting in complete and permanent kidney failure.

The Next Steps You Should Take

You trust your doctor to protect your health. When you suffer from an injury or a worsened condition after using a drug recommended by your doctor, you deserve to be compensated for the harm you have suffered, as well as the abuse of your trust.

In addition, drug companies who continue to push PPI medications with no regard for their potential to cause harm must to be held liable for their actions. No patient should have to worry about becoming a victim of a pharmaceutical company’s greed.

If you have suffered from kidney pain, kidney disease or other debilitating conditions as a result of proton pump inhibitor drugs, you should know that you are not alone. Victims of kidney damage around the country are currently taking action against the drug companies that manufacture PPIs, including Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid, along with the doctors who prescribed these drugs without giving warning of the risks.

By working with an experienced pharmaceutical lawyer, you can hold the healthcare system accountable for the suffering they have caused you, and receive the compensation you need to get your life back.

Contact Us

After you have suffered from kidney damage due to PPI drugs, the road to recovery is long. While there is hope for your health to improve over the long term, it will likely involve frequent treatment from specialist doctors, along with possible surgery and even transplant procedures.

You should not have to bear the cost of this medical care. Contact Searcy Denney today at (800) 388-3905 for a free consultation about your PPI-related kidney damage case. Our team of pharmaceutical law experts can fight for you! You deserve compensation for both your medical bills, and for the needless suffering you have endured.

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