Researchers say in a new study that prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), or heartburn medications, are associated with an increased risk of kidney damage. According to a CBS news report, the new study, which was published in the journal Kidney International, looked at adults who use heartburn medications sold under brand names such as Prevacid, Nexium and Prilosec, as well as users of H2 blockers, such as Zantac or Pepcid. These findings could affect roughly fifteen million Americans who use these prescription drugs for heartburn and acid reflux. Thousands of injured patients have filed heartburn medication lawsuits across the country.
What Did Researchers Find?
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System analyzed data from VA databases on 125,596 new users of PPIs and 18,436 new users of H2 blockers. They found that H2 blockers are much less likely to cause kidney problems than PPIs. Over five years of follow up, researchers found that more than 80 percent of PPI users did not develop acute kidney problems.
However, more than half of the cases of chronic kidney damage and end-stage renal disease associated with PPI use occurred in people without acute kidney problems. Researchers said doctors should pay careful attention to kidney function in their patients who use PPIs even when there are no signs of problems. Doctors should also evaluate whether PPI use is medically necessary because these drugs carry significant risks, including a deterioration of kidney function.
What are the Dangers of Heartburn Medication?
Studies show that heartburn medications cause acute interstitial nephritis, which involves irritation and inflammation of the kidneys, which could lead to chronic and long-term injury if the drug is not discontinued. Patients could also suffer acute kidney injury, which includes the sudden loss of kidney function. About 10 percent of patients with this condition may be permanently affected. In addition, those who take PPIs could cause kidney failure requiring patients to get lifelong dialysis treatments or even kidney transplants.
Experts are also concerned that patients with kidney problems might not even experience the warning signs. Chronic kidney disease doesn’t usually display signs or symptoms until it is too late. While some of these are prescription drugs, some are also available over the counter. When people buy these drugs over the counter, they aren’t even checked for kidney problems, which could make the situation extremely dangerous.
Contact an Experienced Heartburn Drug Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of taking the heartburn medications Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering, among other losses. Our firm is working with experienced heartburn medication lawyers across the country, who are investigating these cases. They may be able to file a lawsuit for you, and they charge no fee unless you win an award or settlement. For a free (no obligation) case evaluation, call our toll free number at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form online.