Proton Pump Inhibitor Side Effects

Patients who suffer from chronic heartburn or acid reflux may turn to proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs like Nexium and Prilosec, which have been shown to reduce gastric acid production in the stomach and relieve the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. However, a growing number of studies published in recent years have suggested that long-term use of Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors may increase the risk of serious side effects in users, including kidney damage, kidney failure, bone fractures, heart attack, dementia and wrongful death. If you believe you have been harmed by side effects of a PPI drug, contact a knowledgeable product liability lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.

What are Proton Pump Inhibitors?

Heartburn and acid reflux typically occur when a valve at the base of the esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to close properly, allowing stomach acid to flow backward into the esophagus, and triggering a burning sensation that can travel up the throat. Proton pump inhibitors are designed to provide long-lasting reduction of gastric acid production, and are commonly used to relieve the symptoms of acid reflux, stomach ulcers, heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, because PPIs do not address the underlying causes of heartburn or acid reflux, users typically remain on the medications for long periods of time, which has been shown to increase the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening medical problems.

Reported Proton Pump Inhibitor Side Effects

According to a growing body of research, patients who take Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid and other proton pump inhibitors to relieve their symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn may face an increased risk of the following side effects:

  • Kidney damage
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Dementia
  • Bone fractures
  • Heart attack
  • Wrongful death

Link Between PPIs and Side Effects

One of the first studies to highlight a potential link between proton pump inhibitor drugs and serious side effects was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December 2006, and researchers involved in the study found that patients over the age of 50 who took PPIs for a prolonged period of time faced a higher risk of hip fractures. In the years since, proton pump inhibitors have been tied to a number of other major side effects in users, some of which may be life-threatening. In July 2013, for example, the medical journal Circulation published a study indicating that patients taking Nexium, Prevacid and other popular heartburn drugs had an increased risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases.

Just two years later, in April 2015, a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal established a link between the use of PPI medications and a more than two-fold increased risk of acute kidney injury and kidney failure. Concerns about the risk of PPIs were raised again in February 2016, when researchers from Germany published a study linking the use of proton pump inhibitors like Nexium to a 44% higher risk of dementia. According to the study findings, patients aged 75 and older who regularly took PPIs had a “significantly increased risk” of suffering dementia, compared to patients who didn’t take the medications.

Contact a Knowledgeable PPI Injury Lawyer Today

In light of the potential for proton pump inhibitors to cause bone fractures, dementia, kidney disease, and other serious medical problems, former users of the medications have filed product liability lawsuits against the makers of Nexium, Prilosec and other PPIs, alleging that the drug companies failed to adequately warn the public about the risk of side effects. If you took a proton pump inhibitor like Nexium in the past, and you have since suffered a heart attack, bone fracture, dementia, kidney disease, or another serious complication, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and medical bills. Contact an experienced PPI injury lawyer today for legal help.