A study from St. Louis researchers shows indications that heartburn medications can increase the risk of kidney failure and disease. This study, published on April 14 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, revealed the results of more than 170,000 veterans who use these medications. The heartburn medications the study researched included Prevacid, Prilosec, and Dexilant, among others.

Details of the Study

Researchers used the databases from the Department of Veterans Affairs and compared incidents of both chronic kidney disease and kidney failure for people who used Nexium and other PPI medications with those who used a different type of medication for heartburn, which included Pepcid and Zantac. The results were as follows:

  • PPI users had a 28 percent increased risk for chronic kidney disease
  • PPI users had a 96 percent increased risk for renal or kidney failure within five years of the first use of the medication
  • Risk of kidney damage increased with long-term use of PPI medications
  • 15 percent of people who use these drugs develop chronic kidney disease within 5 years

This is not the first study done on the subject, but it adds to previous findings. Previous studies were reported in the CMAJ Open Medical Journal in April 2015 and AMA Internal Medicine in January 2016.

Lawsuit Implications

As more of these studies are conducted and the public becomes more aware of the risk associated with PPI drugs, patients may ask their doctors for alternative solutions. However, current and previous users are at a higher risk for many health conditions related to kidney failure, including the following:

  • Acute kidney injury
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Dialysis treatment
  • Kidney transplant
  • Acute interstitial nephritis
  • End stage renal disease
  • Kidney failure

What Can Patients Do?

Anyone who is currently taking heartburn medications should consult with their doctor to discuss alternative options to control chronic and serious heartburn. While this condition is serious in its own right, possibly leading to permanent damage of the esophagus, treatment options not deemed to be safe may not be the answer. Patients should discuss the benefits versus the risks of using heartburn medications.

Some people find that over-the-counter antacids can relieve the problem. Others turn to acid blockers, such as Pepcid or Tagamet. Proton Pump Inhibitors or PPIs are prescribed by doctors for more serious cases of chronic heartburn. PPIs shut down proton pumps which are located in the stomach that produce acid. Prilosec and other PPIs are available without a prescription. Stronger versions do require a prescription, such as Prevacid, Protonix, and even a stronger version of Prilosec.

Other medications try to provide a coating for the stomach, such as Gaviscon, or speed up the stomach’s release of contents. With numerous options for the treatment of acid reflux or chronic heartburn, it’s important for patients to consider all alternatives and the side effects.

Do I Have A Defective Drug Claim?

Manufacturers of PPIs should have been aware of the potential side effects of their drugs. Anyone who has had complications from taking these medications should consult with a NoLA defective drug attorney to find out if they are eligible for compensation. Whether they suffered from chronic kidney disease or lost a loved one through kidney failure, they deserve to have their case heard.

The Olinde Firm has experience handling heartburn medication cases. Contact our office at (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free legal consultation with a New Orleans based defective drug attorney.