Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are powerful drugs that can stop heartburn and reduce acid in the stomach. Unfortunately, they have also proven themselves to be dangerous with unexpected side effects including kidney damage, kidney disease, kidney failure, and bone fractures.
If you have taken Prilosec, Nexium, or any other PPI and experienced these conditions, a lawyer for the proton pump inhibitor lawsuit can help you win a financial recovery including reimbursement for all of your medical bills, ongoing care, and pain and suffering.
What are Proton Pump Inhibitors?
PPIs are a class of medicines used mainly for heartburn. They work differently from other heartburn medications because they don’t try to neutralize acid in the stomach. Instead, they work to prevent the stomach from making acid in the first place.
This is a delicate process. In your stomach lining, there are parietal cells dedicated to making acid. These cells use a structure known as a “proton pump,” which pumps out positively charged hydrogen ions which then react to form stomach acid, allowing you to break down food. Too much stomach acid, however, can cause heartburn or irritate damage to the stomach.
To fix this, PPIs shut down acid production at the source. They block the proton pumps at the chemical level, preventing them from releasing the hydrogen ions and making acid. If it’s used too much or for too long, it can affect your body’s ability to absorb crucial nutrients.
When Are PPIs Supposed to Be Used?
There are three main circumstances where PPIs are recommended:
- GERD/recurring heartburn. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or acid reflux, means that the bottom of your esophagus does not seal fully, and the contents of your stomach and its acid come back up and burn your esophagus. Because PPIs inhibit the production of acid, they can be extremely effective in relieving GERD.
- Ulcers. When the lining of your stomach and small intestine are damaged it is known as a peptic ulcer which can cause gnawing, burning pain. Reducing acid with PPIs can both relieve the immediate pain and potentially help the ulcer heal long-term.
- Stomach damage from other NSAID drugs. NSAIDs are pain relief/anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. Too much of these drugs can damage the stomach lining, causing damage similar to ulcers.
When used as a short-term treatment, PPIs can help relieve any of these conditions. If they’re overused, or given for the wrong reasons, however, PPIs can be extremely dangerous.
Inappropriate Use of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
Unfortunately, the wrong doses and inappropriate prescriptions of PPIs are given. Because this drug has a fast, dramatic effect, they are vulnerable to overuse. The most common inappropriate uses include:
- Overuse for heartburn: Patients who suffer from heartburn/acid reflux may think of PPIs as a miracle drug. When the patient uses the drug long-term, they may end up with serious damage and life-threatening side effects.
- Inappropriately prescribed with steroids: Many doctors make the mistake of having a patient take PPIs along with their steroids. PPIs help prevent stomach damage, but unless the steroids are also coupled with NSAIDs, this is rarely necessary. Up to 90% of patients given inappropriate prescriptions of PPIs with their steroids do not meet the criteria to do so.
The result of this misuse can be kidney disease, broken bones, or other serious side effects. A PPI lawsuit lawyer can determine if you were inappropriately prescribed a proton pump inhibitor.
PPIs Can Cause Kidney Damage and Kidney Disease
The reason the stomach produces acid is to break down food and make it easier for the body to absorb nutrients. When the acid is blocked, it becomes difficult for the body to take in key minerals including magnesium and calcium, which can lead to serious long-term effects.
One of the most dangerous of those effects is interstitial nephritis, or inflammation of the kidney. PPIs like Prevacid directly cause nephritis which is often a precursor to much more serious kidney problems and chronic kidney disease.
PPI use also corresponds to developing end stage renal disease (ESRD), a fatal condition where the kidney loses all of its function and fails. Kidney failure means you will have to switch to a dialysis machine to filter your blood for the rest of your life.
PPIs Can Lead to Broken Bones
It may be surprising that a heartburn medicine can cause broken bones, but this phenomenon is well documented. It is likely connected to PPIs inhibiting the absorption of calcium. If PPIs are used for a long time, or in high doses, the bones may become frail. The FDA warns that patients using PPIs are at high risk of broken hips, wrists, and even spines.
PPIs Brands and Specific Medications
The PPI class includes a large number of drugs, such as:
- Omeprazole (under the brand names Prilosec, Gasec, Omepral, UlcerGard, GastroGard, and others)
- Lansoprazole (Prevacid, Inhibitol, and others)
- Dexlansoprazole (Kapidex, Dexilant)
- Esomeprazole (Nexium, Esotrex, esso)
The FDA Response to the PPI Situation
Pharmaceutical companies are still allowed to market and sell PPIs, and doctors are still allowed to prescribe them to patients. Why? Because the FDA believes that issuing a warning is enough to protect the consumer.
The FDA has issued several safety warnings about the potential risks associated with using PPIs long term. The FDA has also acknowledged the increased risk of such health concerns as fractures, kidney failure, and other health conditions as direct results of long-term PPI use.
Hiring a Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawyer to Help You Collect Compensation
If you’ve suffered side effects as a result of using a PPI, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Your damages can include medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering.
A skilled attorney can help you draft a comprehensive claim that accounts for all your damages and negotiate to ensure you receive a fair settlement.You stand a better chance at reaping a fair settlement award and getting justice with a lawyer by your side than if you go it alone.
Valid PPI Lawsuits
If you took any brand name or generic PPI, by prescription or over the counter, and you experienced kidney problems or broken bones, you have a valid case. The maker of the drug you took acted with negligence, and they are responsible for the damage done. A proton pump inhibitor lawsuit attorney can help you make a financial recovery.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuit Lawyer?
Experienced law firms that handle PPI lawsuits work on contingency. You will not have to pay for legal services until and unless your case is won. There is no risk associated with having legal representation for your personal injury case.
Questions You Need to Be Prepared to Answer for Your PPI Lawsuit
With evidence of your condition, medical records of severe side effects, and exact dates of when you began the medication will help you and your lawyer strengthen your lawsuit. Some questions to be prepared for and have the proper documentation for include:
- What serious side effects did you experience after taking PPIs?
- What brand of PPIs did you take?
- Were you taking any other drugs at the same time you were taking PPIs? PPIs can interact with hundreds of other medicines. Many of these can cause severe reactions. Your attorney should be aware of other drugs you were taking while using PPIs.
- How long did you take PPIs? Long-term PPI use increases your risk for serious side effects. Bring a copy of your medical records to your lawsuit consultation so your attorney knows when you first started taking PPIs.
- Have you had a kidney transplant or undergone dialysis? These procedures can take a physical, emotional and mental toll on your life. Make sure your PPI lawsuit lawyer knows if you’ve undergone these procedures as part of your treatment.
Your PPI lawsuit attorney will also go over these and other questions with you to prepare.
An Experienced Law Firm May Be Able to Help You
There is no way to reverse a serious medical condition like kidney disease, but that doesn’t mean you have to bear the costs alone. John Foy & Associates can help you hold the drug companies responsible and try to rid yourself of medical bills for good.
We are ready tol sit down with you for a FREE consultation and discuss your case. Get in touch with our proton pump inhibitor lawsuit attorneys today.