Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine released the results of a recent study that shows a link between liver disease and the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). The study focused on the effects of PPI medications to certain naturally occurring bacteria found in the stomach. Resulting data indicated that PPIs cause changes in stomach bacteria levels that can lead to liver injuries as well as three types of chronic liver disease. These findings are concerning as the use of both prescription as well as over-the-counter PPIs to treat heartburn is common and widespread. Injuries caused by the use of PPI medications continue to be the subject of heartburn drug lawsuits nationwide.
What are PPI Medications Used to Treat?
PPI medications such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid are commonly used to treat symptoms of acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease, which typically include frequent heart burn and indigestion. PPIs work by blocking the production of acid in the stomach, and thus relieving the symptoms associated with stomach acid. Use of these drugs to treat acid reflux symptoms has grown increasingly common. In fact, about 10 percent of the population uses a PPI medication. Their popularity is thought to be due to the fact that they are effective in reducing stomach acid and relatively inexpensive.
How can PPI Medications Cause Liver Disease?
Data in the San Diego School of Medicine study showed that PPIs alter the levels of bacteria in the stomach. Usually, the acid in our stomach naturally keeps these bacteria at low levels. However, when the acid level in the stomach is reduced by the use of a PPI, the levels of bacteria go up. The study indicated that higher levels of the bacteria impacted liver function can lead to three types of chronic liver disease. Further, the study also indicated that PPIs can also worsen chronic liver disease in patients who already have the disease. This risk is especially high for patients who have a compromised liver due to fatty liver or past alcohol use.
Contact an Experienced Heartburn Drug Lawyer
If you or someone you know has suffered liver complications or other side effects as a result of taking heartburn medications, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, among other losses. Our law firm is working with experienced heartburn drug lawyers across the country who are handling these cases and charge no legal fees unless you receive a settlement or award. Please contact our toll free number at 1-800-992-6878, or fill out a contact form online for a free (no obligation) case evaluation.