Millions of people take Prevacid to manage their heartburn. And because Prevacid is sold over the counter, you may believe it’s safe to take it every day for years. But that’s not true. Increasingly, research shows a link between Prevacid and kidney disease or kidney failure. If you have kidney problems and have taken Prevacid, help is available.
Our law firm, John Foy & Associates, is actively investigating claims by people who used Prevacid to manage their heartburn and experienced sudden kidney failure, or have chronic kidney disease that may lead to kidney failure. We have been fighting for the rights of patients injured by big pharmaceutical companies for decades, and we’d like to give you a free consultation to talk about your condition and explain what we do. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What is Prevacid?
Prevacid is a heartburn medication manufactured by the Takada pharmaceutical company. Prevacid is also known as Iansoprazole. Prevacid is available by prescription and it is also sold over the counter in a lower dosage as Prevacid24HR.
What kind of drug is Prevacid?
There are two main types of drugs used to treat heartburn: H2 blockers such as Zantac, Pepcid and Tagamet; and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Prevacid, Protonix, Nexium, Prilosec and Dexilant.
Both kinds of drugs reduce acid production in the stomach, but they work differently. H2 drugs block the acid stimulant histamine from binding to receptors in the stomach lining, thus cutting off acid production in its earliest stages. PPIs stop the action of stomach molecules known as proton pumps. Proton pumps act to make the stomach more acidic, and therefore stopping its activity means acid that has been created is prevented from being secreted into the stomach.
PPIs are generally thought to be more effective than H2s at reducing stomach acid because H2s target only one source of stomach acid production, while PPIs prevent secretion of acid from all sources.
Why would someone take Prevacid?
PPIs are usually prescribed for chronic cases of heartburn, but they may also be prescribed for stomach ulcers. As compared to H2s, they have a delayed onset of effectiveness, but they last longer, making them well-suited to people who experience the pain and discomfort of heartburn every day. Prevacid 24HR is marketed as lasting for a full day.
Medically, chronic heartburn is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called GERD or acid reflux. Simply put, GERD occurs when your stomach’s contents return into your esophagus. When food is digested, it passes from the esophagus through a muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, and into the stomach. The LES is supposed to open to allow food in, and then close to prevent it from flowing back out of the stomach. But if the LES is weak or doesn’t have the proper reflexes, it may open at the wrong time, allowing the stomach’s acid and other contents to enter the esophagus.
GERD can be extremely uncomfortable, with burning chest pain and pressure sometimes lasting for hours. For the 15 million Americans suffer from heartburn daily, Prevacid and other PPIs seem like a miracle drug.
Is Prevacid Safe?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made it clear that Prevacid and other PPIs are meant to be used short-term. Safety warnings for over the counter versions say that the drugs should not be taken for more than 14 days at a time and should not be used for more than three 14-day periods within a year.
And yet many people take these drugs long-term, either because their doctors prescribe them or because they buy them at the drugstore, assuming that because they’re sold without a prescription, they’re safe. One of the serious side effects of PPIs is interstitial nephritis, or kidney inflammation. Studies have shown that PPIs cause interstitial nephritis, which can lead to much more serious kidney problems.
One of these is chronic kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney failure. This is a progressive disease that decreases the ability of the kidneys to perform their function of filtering blood. A 2016 study of Department of Veterans Affairs patients found that PPI users were 28 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney failure than users of H2 heartburn drugs. As chronic kidney disease progresses, it leads to end stage kidney failure – a condition that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant for survival.
PPIs like Prevacid have also been linked to acute kidney failure, a sudden loss of the kidneys’ ability to filter blood. Compared to people using H2 blocking drugs, PPI users have a 98 percent greater chance of developing acute kidney failure, according to the Veterans Affairs study.
What are the symptoms of acute kidney failure?
Acute kidney failure is extremely dangerous and needs medical attention. Symptoms include:
- Decreased production of urine
- Swelling in the hands, feet or face
- High blood pressure
Acute kidney failure develops within a matter of hours or days and can be fatal if not treated. Long-term, chronic kidney failure can also ultimately be fatal, but it has a wide range of symptoms and may not be easy to diagnose until the damage has been done.
For some patients, kidney disease could have been prevented or lessened if only they had known they should stop using Prevacid or switch to a different heartburn medication. The manufacturer, Takeda, has earned big profits selling this drug without considering the side effects or taking steps to warn the public about the potential for devastating kidney failure. They should be held accountable for the damage they have done.
Talk to a Prevacid Kidney Failure Lawsuit Lawyer
At John Foy & Associates, our attorneys are exploring potential claims against the manufacturers of Prevacid and other dangerous PPIs. Because we are a large law firm with strong experience handling medical claims, we have the resources and know-how to take on large pharmaceutical companies. We always work on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t pay us a fee unless we recover money for you.
Let us get you started with a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll listen to your story, answer your questions, and explain your options. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.