The drug Protonix has brought welcome relief to many who suffer from heartburn and acid reflux. But Protonix and other proton pump inhibitor drugs have a frightening side effect – they can cause long-term kidney disease. If you have taken Protonix and you are now experiencing kidney problems, we’d like to hear from you.
At John Foy & Associates, we have a longstanding reputation as one of the top medical injury law firms in the United States. We are seeking people who have been harmed by Protonix because we believe the manufacturer may be liable – and that means you may be able to receive money to pay for your treatment, pain, and more. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What is Protonix?
Protonix, also known as pantoprazole, is part of a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs. PPIs are used to treat stomach ulcers and acid reflux. Most heartburn medicines neutralize the acid in your stomach. But PPIs work differently – they prevent the stomach from forming acid at all.
In your stomach, there are cells devoted to making acid, which kills bacteria and helps you digest food. Protonix decreases the amount of acid that the stomach produces. It does this by blocking the “proton pump” – a chemical system within the cells in the stomach that make acid. With the proton pumps blocked, your stomach can’t make as much acid, and you see relief from your symptoms. The trouble is, if you use a PPI for too long, you can develop serious side effects.
What is Protonix Supposed to Be Used For?
Protonix and other PPIs such as Prilosec and Prevacid are supposed to be used over a relatively short time period to reduce acid and relieve certain stomach conditions. The three uses for Protonix are:
- Gastric reflux, also known as GERD or chronic heartburn. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD, affects the band of muscle between the esophagus and the stomach. Ordinarily, the muscle shuts tightly, preventing acid and food from the stomach from moving into the esophagus. But in people with GERD, the muscle does not work properly, and stomach contents return back into the esophagus. This causes heartburn, a burning chest pain.
- Ulcers. The stomach also has a protective layer of mucus to prevent stomach acid from corroding the stomach lining. When this protective layer thins or is damaged by stomach acid and sores appear in the stomach lining, this is known as a peptic ulcer. People with ulcers often have a burning pain or uncomfortable feeling between their breastbone and their navel.
- Treating stomach damage caused by NSAIDs. An NSAID is a pain relief and anti-inflammatory medicine. NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). These over-the counter drugs are widely considered safe, but if you take too much, you can damage your stomach lining.
When Protonix is taken for a short time for any of these conditions, it can provide much-needed relief. The problem occurs when Protonix is taken over a long period of time or for conditions it’s not recommended for.
How is Protonix misused?
Protonix can feel like a lifesaver to someone who suffers from ongoing heartburn. But its effectiveness also makes it vulnerable to misuse. There are two ways that Protonix is commonly misused – sometimes with dire consequences.
- Overprescribing. PPIs like Protonix are meant to be a short-term solution, not a cure for gastric reflux. The best way to combat the condition long-term is through diet and lifestyle changes. However, Protonix may be prescribed multiple times because it is so effective. Unfortunately, this can cause severe harm.
- Prescribing with steroids. Sometimes, when doctors prescribe steroids to treat a condition, they prescribe Protonix too. The theory is the Protonix will prevent stomach damage due to the steroids. But in up to 90 percent of caseswhere PPIs were prescribed along with steroids, this was not medically necessary.
When Protonix is misused, the consequences can be grave – including serious kidney damage.
Does Protonix cause kidney disease?
Unfortunately, evidence is becoming clear that prolonged use of Protonix can lead to kidney disease. Stomach acid plays a vital role in breaking down food, and this in turn allows the body to absorb the food’s nutrients. Blocking the acid can make this process more difficult, and it can lead to deficiencies in essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
When the body doesn’t get these minerals in sufficient quantities, the kidneys can become inflamed, a condition known as interstitial nephritis. PPIs like Protonix are known to cause interstitial nephritis. Interstitial nephritis may have symptoms like a decreased quantity of urine, fever, or blood in the urine – or it may have no symptoms at all. If you have interstitial nephritis, use of PPIs has been linked to the progression of the condition to chronic kidney disease.
Alarmingly, research indicates that more than half of the people who have chronic kidney damage as a result of taking PPIs do not get any warning – they have no kidney problems and may be completely unaware that their kidneys are not functioning normally. And once your kidneys are damaged, the harm cannot be reversed.
PPIs are also related to a progression from chronic kidney disease to kidney failure, also known as end stage renal disease. If you have end stage renal disease, your kidneys are no longer able to perform their function of filtering your blood. You will have to be placed on dialysis permanently or have a kidney transplant – otherwise you will die.
Talk to a Protonix Kidney Disease Lawsuit Lawyer
If you took Protonix and you are having kidney problems, you probably have a case. The manufacturer, Pfizer, has put the public at risk and should be held accountable for its negligence. That’s what we’re here for.
Kidney disease can’t be cured, but it can be managed, and we’d like to get you the money you need to take care of yourself and get the most out of your life. John Foy & Associates is equipped to take on the “big guys” at the drug companies and get you the financial relief you need. We’ll give you a FREE consultation to talk about your case. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.