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Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

HEARTBURN DRUGS LINKED TO SEVERE HEALTH PROBLEMS

Millions of Americans take proton pump inhibitor acid-reducing medications to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Also known as PPIs, these potentially dangerous medications are one of the best selling drugs across the globe. They have been regarded as more effective than their predecessor, H2-blockers, and with a similar or smaller list of side effects.

However, recent studies have revealed the serious risks posed by this class of heartburn medication. PPIs have been linked to an increased risk in developing:

  • Pneumonia
  • Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
  • Kidney damage
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Heart attack
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Bone fractures
  • Osteoporosis
  • Dementia

The health issues linked to PPIs are further exacerbated by patients taking the harmful drugs over a long-term period when they are no longer necessary.

TYPES OF PROTON PUMP INHIBITOR HEARTBURN MEDICATIONS

There are several brands of PPIs available on the market to people struggling with heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD, including:

  • Prilosec, Prilosec OTC, Zegerid (omeprazole)
  • Prevacid (lansoprazole)
  • Nexium (esomeprazole)
  • Aciphex (rabeprazole)
  • Protonix (pantoprazole)

PPI USAGE LINKED TO INCREASED RISK OF MORTALITY

A study published in July 2017 noted that individuals taking over-the-counter or prescription PPIs had a 25-percent higher risk of death than patients taking H2 blockers (another class of drugs that help reduce stomach acid). This averages to about one death for every 500 people taking PPIs for a year. The study analyzed data on about 350,000 people.

INCREASED RISK OF HEART ATTACK DUE TO PPIs

Patients taking the blood thinner heart medication Plavix (clopidogrel) are at an increased risk of a recurrent heart attack when taking PPIs. The increased risk of another heart attack was 20 percent. Some experts believe the increased risk of a heart attack is not just in patients taking Plavix or have had a previous heart attack. PPIs inhibit the blood thinning properties of clopidogrel, which may lead to a serious or fatal blood clot.

PROLONGED PPI USAGE LINKED TO KIDNEY DISEASE AND KIDNEY FAILURE

In 2016, a large study over a five year period studied more than 125,000 patients taking PPIs. The results showed that PPI users were at a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) and acute kidney injury (AKI) than users of H2-blockers. Chronic kidney disease does not display obvious signs and symptoms, making it incredibly difficult to diagnosis, and, in effect, treat.

STOMACH INFECTIONS LINKED TO PRILOSEC, NEXIUM HEARTBURN DRUGS

Heartburn drugs, including PPIs, were found to have increased the risk of developing a serious stomach infection called clostridium difficile, or C. diff, and Campylobacter bacteria. The 2016 study of approximately 565,000 adults showed that these infections, which can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and more serious symptoms, may be more prevalent in heartburn medication patients due to the suppression of stomach acid. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously informed the public with a warning in 2012 linking PPIs with an increased risk of developing CDAD — clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, which does not improve.

PROTON PUMP INHIBITORS INCREASE RISK OF BONE FRACTURES

In 2011, the FDA determined that short-term, low dose PPI use likely did not constitute an increased bone fracture risk or risk of developing osteoporosis. However, available data shows that at high dosage and over a period of time of a year or more, there is a higher risk of fractures. Patients are urged to take the lowest dose possible for treatment and for the shortest time needed to lower the risk of developing fractures or osteoporosis.

LOWER MAGNESIUM LEVELS CAUSED BY PPIs MAY LEAD TO SERIOUS INJURY

The FDA informed the public in 2011 that PPIs could lead to low serum magnesium levels, also known as hypomagnesemia, if taken for longer than one year. This condition can result in serious side effects, including muscle spasms, heart arrhythmias, and seizures. The agency notes that these severe complications have not been linked to the over-the-counter versions of these medications due to their smaller dosage amount. The FDA has required the addition of the warning of an increased risk of hypomagnesemia on all PPI labels.

CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED DANGEROUS DRUG LAWYER

Proton pump inhibitors have been associated with several life-changing and potentially fatal side effects. However, millions of Americans are prescribed these drugs each year. PPIs are one of the top class of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed in the United States. In 2009, approximately 21 million people were prescribed these dangerous drugs. If you or a loved one have been injured by a heartburn medication, such as a PPI, contact Thomas J. Henry. We have an experienced team of dangerous drug lawyers and the financial resources necessary to take on the pharmaceutical companies. Call today for a free legal consultation.

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