New Lawsuit Alleges PPI Heartburn Medications Caused Kidney Injuries

PPI Lawsuit Alleges Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid Makers Failed to Warn of Risks

Lawsuits continue to be filed over proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), including Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid. These medications, which are used to treat heartburn and acid reflux disease, work by reducing the amount of acid produced by the stomach. PPI kidney injury lawsuits began mounting after two studies linked the heartburn drugs to an increased risk of kidney disease. One lawsuit was recently filed on behalf of an Alabama woman.

Parker Waichman LLP has spent decades representing clients in drug injury lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a PPI kidney damage lawsuit.

According to court records, the lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware on Mar. 31, 2017. The complaint states that the plaintiff suffered from kidney injuries, allegedly due to using over-the-counter PPIs including Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid. The suit names AstraZeneca, Procter & Gamble and Takeda Pharmaceuticals as defendants. The lawsuit alleges that the drug makers “actively concealed” the “true and significant risks” associated with using PPI medications.

“Defendants concealed and continue to conceal their knowledge that PPIs can cause kidney injuries from Plaintiff, other consumers, and the medical community,” the complaint states. “Specifically, defendants have failed to adequately inform consumers and the prescribing medical community against the serious risks associated with PPIs and have completely failed to warn against the risk of CKD and ESRD.”

In 2016, two studies found that use of PPIs were associated with an increased risk of chronic kidney disease. Litigation has mounted following the studies, with plaintiffs alleging that Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid caused kidney injuries and that manufacturers failed to warn of the risks.

There are roughly 100 PPI kidney injury lawsuits pending, Law360 reports. According to legal experts, that number is expected to rise; there could be as many as 5,000 lawsuits alleging that PPIs caused kidney disease.

For example, the makers of Nexium and Prevacid were sued last June. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a man in the New York Eastern District Court in Brooklyn. He began taking both Nexium and Prevacid in 2006 and developed acute kidney injury. The lawsuit alleges that taking these heartburn medications caused kidney injury and that drug makers failed to warn of the risks. According to the complaint, PPI side effects have resulted in the need for medical care and monitoring for the rest of his life. As with other PPI kidney disease claims, the plaintiff alleges that he would not have taken the drugs if he were fully informed of the risks.

Another complaint was filed over Prevacid and its maker, Takeda Pharmaceuticals. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a plaintiff who used Prevacid from May 2005 through May 2012. The plaintiff has developed renal disease, and alleges that Prevacid is to blame. He alleges that the PPI maker should have warned adequately about the risk of kidney injury associated with Prevacid.

PPI Kidney Disease Background

PPI makers have been facing mounting litigation following two studies linking the gastric acid suppressors to an increased risk of kidney disease. One study was published January 2016 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Compared to participants who did not use the heartburn drugs, PPI users had a 20 to 50 percent increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease. The study also found that higher doses of PPI medications increased the risk of kidney injury. In patients taking PPIs once a day, the risk of kidney disease increased 15 percent compared to 46 percent for patients taking the medications twice daily.

In April 2016, another study linked PPI use to an increased risk of kidney injury. Researchers found that use of medications such as Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid was associated with a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Investigators analyzed data from 170,000 new PPI users and 20,000 new users of H2 receptor blockers, another class of heartburn medication.

The study, published in the American Society of Nephrology, identified a 28 percent increased risk of chronic kidney disease among PPI users. Although only a small handful of patients developed end-stage renal failure (ESRD), use of PPIs was associated with a 96 percent increased risk of ESRD.

Both studies identify a correlation between PPI use and kidney disease. These findings do not say anything about causality; in other words, they do not prove that PPIs cause kidney damage. Additional research is needed to learn more about the relationship between PPIs and kidney injury. While the studies do not show causality, the findings underscore that PPIs should not be used unless they are truly necessary.

PPIs have been the subject of other studies as well. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study suggesting that taking PPIs and Rocephin (a type of antibiotic) may be associated with heart risks when taken together. Neither drug is associated with significant cardiovascular risks on their own. The study found that taking these drugs together may be associated with an increased risk of long QT syndrome, a condition that can cause heart rhythm irregularities and in rare cases, sudden death.
Another study, conducted by researchers from the Australian National University recently found that use of PPIs may be associated with an increased risk of infectious gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu. Patients were 70 percent more likely to be hospitalized with infectious gastroenteritis if they were using PPIs, the study found. “The elderly and those with chronic bowel problems are most at risk. These patients should be having a conversation with their doctor to ensure that they are on right dose and that these drugs are the right fit for them,” the authors said.

In 2011, consumer advocacy group Public Citizen filed a petition asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to place additional information about potential adverse events on PPI warning labels. The agency approved updates to the label in 2014, including language about the risks of acute interstitial nephritis, among other things.

Filing a PPI Lawsuit

If you or someone you know is interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit involving a PPI such as Nexium, Prevacid or Prilosec, contact Parker Waichman today. Our firm offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).

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