Widely Used Drugs Linked to Kidney Disease, Dementia and Other Serious Problems
Proton pump inhibitors, which block acid secretion in the stomach, are the most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the world. Approximately 15 million people take them in the U.S. to treat heartburn, gastric ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome and other stomach issues. The most familiar brand names include Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium. They are available as prescription medications and as over the counter (OTC) drugs.
This over-prescribed and over-utilized category of drugs is increasingly being linked to serious health problems, especially when used long-term. Problems include inflammatory kidney disease or acute interstitial nephritis (AIN), acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and even kidney or renal failure. Studies have also connected proton pump inhibitors to bone fractures, dementia and birth defects in babies whose mothers used the drugs.
96% More Likelihood of Developing Kidney Failure
Study statistics related to the drugs tell a bleak story. An April 2016 study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, compared data from patients who used proton pump inhibitors to those who used an alternative form of treatment, histamine H2 receptor blockers. The patients who used proton pump inhibitors had a 28-percent increased risk of chronic kidney disease and a 96-percent increased risk of developing kidney failure compared to the patients not taking the proton pump inhibitors.
An earlier 2016 study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers, which was published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine, reported that people using proton pump inhibitor drugs have a 20 percent to 50 percent higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease compared to people who don’t use the drugs. Additionally, another 2016 study, done in Germany, found a connection between dementia in older patients and proton pump inhibitors. Numerous other research studies reaching as far back as 1992 have also implicated the drugs.
Billions in Sales and No Adequate Warning
As some of the most prescribed drugs in the world, drug companies earn billions of dollars annually from sales of these popular proton pump inhibitors. Although the evidence is mounting that proton pump inhibitors can cause health problems more serious than they may treat, drug manufacturers have continued to resist placing adequate warnings on the products. Some manufacturers have added warnings about the risk of inflammatory kidney disease, but have not extended warnings to include chronic kidney injury, renal impairment or other significant health concerns.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you have used proton pump inhibitors and are experiencing related health issues, our experienced pharmaceutical attorneys are available to advise you. As evidence continues to mount that drug manufacturers knew about the risks of these drugs, but failed to inform patients or doctors, more and more people will seek redress. It is important to understand your legal options now in a confidential and caring environment. Contact us today with questions or to schedule a free consultation.