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Proton Pump Inhibitors 101

Lawsuits involving the use of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are on the rise and it is important that you understand why.

Designed to treat acid-related disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract, PPIs have been around since the late 1980s, but their use in the U.S. has increased in recent years, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In fact, 2012 statistics showed that 14.9 million patients received 157 million PPI prescriptions for pepticulcers and gastrointestinal reflux disorders.

The U.S. population also uses over-the-counter medications for heartburn and stomach acid. These prevalent OTC brands have not been included in many statistics on PPIs use, but we know that popular non-prescription-strength pills like Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid are also PPIs.

Why Does This Matter?

PPIs have been linked to two life-altering side effects:

  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • Acute interstitial nephritis (AIN)

CKD, also known chronic renal failure, is a potentially life-threatening condition involving the gradual loss of kidney function and a dangerous build of waste in the blood. In AIN, spaces between the tubules of the kidney cells become inflamed. While AIN victims can recover, most experience some permanent kidney-function loss and in rare cases require a kidney transplant.

Although the FDA has not confirmed a direct causal relationship, PPI use has also been linked to other adverse events such as myocardial infarction or heart attack, hypomagnesemia, bone fractures, acquired infections and birth defects.

What Do Studies Show?

In addition to observational findings initiated in 2014, which have increasingly tied PPIs to adverse effects, more recent studies have proven the connection between PPIs and kidney malfunction.

2016: The February issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) explained that a professional review more than 10,000 patient medical records showed the risk of PPI users getting CKD is increased by 20% to 50%.

2015: A study presented at the American Society of Nephrology meeting in the fall of 2015 supported the JAMA report and also indicated that the risk may be even greater for patients who have been on PPIs for a long period of time or take them more frequently than others.

What’s Being Done?

Victims are suing PPI drug companies, claiming that the acid-relief medications are causing widespread problems and were made in a way that resulted damaging side effects, or were not tested properly or thoroughly enough before release to the public.

The most profound cases are coming from a big segment of daily PPI users: people over the age of 60. However, anyone who has used a prescribed or OTC PPI as early as 1992 and has suffered from AIN or CKD may be eligible for legal compensation.

If you have used Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid or another prescription-strength medication classified as a PPI and think your kidney issues may be related to this potentially dangerous drug, contact Whitley Law Firm.

Our drug attorneys are talking to people from all over North Carolina and the U.S. to evaluate the strength of their PPI cases. You can call us anytime for a complimentary evaluation or fill out our online form for a free case review.