Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) and Kidney Disease – What They Knew, When They Knew It
Heartburn (also called “acid reflux” or “gastroesophageal reflux disease/GERD”) is a common problem that plagues millions of people; so much so that in 2013, over 15 million Americans were believed to have been prescribed Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) to treat this condition… and that number doesn’t even reflect the people using the over-the-counter versions. PPIs can include both the prescription and over-the-counter brands such as Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, and Protonix, but just because they’re easily accessible doesn’t mean that they’re safe. Millions of patients are now reporting that they are suffering from kidney disease or kidney failure after taking this popular medication.
What They Knew
Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, professor at Georgetown University Medical Center and the director of the university’s PharmedOut project, reports that 30 to 70 percent of PPI users don’t need to use these drugs. GERD can be simply treated through diet and lifestyle changes, and yet expensive marketing tactics and the over-prescribing of these medications are causing millions of patients to be at risk. In fact, in 2015 and 2016, more than $250 million was spent on advertising for over-the-counter and prescription PPIs. However, with so many patients taking this medication, doctors started to notice the connection between chronic kidney disease and patients who were taking PPIs.
When They Knew It
Many studies have proven the connection between PPIs and the increased risk of bone fractures and kidney injuries, and yet the pharmaceutical companies failed to warn patients of the increased potential for long term harm.
1996 – 2006 – In Australia, PPI prescription rose by 1,318% in just one decade.
2006 – The New England Journal of Medicine published their findings on the link between PPIs and acute interstitial nephritis which can cause sudden or long term kidney damage.
2011 – The advocacy group Public Citizen sent a petition to the FDA asking for a black box warning – the strongest warning available – alerting consumers of the potential for drug dependency and the increased risk of bone fractures. The FDA finally responded in 2014 and rejected the request.
2014 – FDA issues warning that PPIs can cause acute interstitial nephritis, which can result in permanent kidney damage or renal failure.
2016 – A study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which stated that those who suffered from kidney sensitivity problems were about 20 to 50 percent higher for those using PPIs than those who were not. Additionally, the Pharmaceutical Journal states that, “once a patient has taken a PPI for longer than a few weeks, acid hypersecretion can occur on discontinuation. This causes rebound symptoms, and frequently establishes a vicious cycle of drug reinitiation and long-term continuation.” This means that patients patients can become dependant on the drug as their body relies on it to manage their acid reflux symptoms.
2017 – Kidney International published a report that found that patients who were using PPIs had a 20 percent higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease.
What Can You Do?
If you took prescription or over-the-counter Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, or Protonix and suffered from chronic kidney disease, renal failure, acute kidney injury, acute interstitial nephritis, bone deterioration, or bone fractures, you may be able to make a claim against the pharmaceutical manufacturers. These medications were sold for over 18 years before they warned patients of the potential for these dangerous complications. Call us today to see if you are eligible to make a financial claim.