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Proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, are a type of medication most commonly used to treat gastrointestinal ailments such as heartburn, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis, and ulcers in the stomach and esophagus. PPIs work by blocking the enzyme in the stomach lining that produces stomach acid.

PPIs can be prescribed by a doctor or they can be purchased over the counter. They are found in popular drugs such as Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec. Unfortunately, overusing these medications or using them without appropriate cause can increase the risk of some serious side effects including kidney damage, chronic kidney disease, and even renal failure.

The drug companies that manufacture PPI medications may have acted negligently and could be responsible for your serious medical complications. If you have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, acute interstitial nephritis, or end-stage renal disease after taking a PPI drug, contact a Raleigh proton pump inhibitor lawyer today.

What Are the Possible Risks Associated with PPIs?

Some common side effects of taking PPIs include headache, nausea, rash, or diarrhea. However, there are more serious dangers to using proton pump inhibitor medications.

According to the FDA, most PPIs should only be taken for a period of four to eight weeks depending on the severity of the illness being treated, but it has been found that consumers are taking PPIs for much longer. In 2013, over 15 million Americans were regularly taking prescribed PPI medications to help with frequent acid reflux. Some users took these drugs for several months before they began developing serious side effects. Many drug manufactures have failed to warn consumers and doctors about the dangers of long-term use of PPI medications.

PPIs are Linked to Kidney Disease and Bone Fractures

One of the main issues found with PPIs is they increase the chance of kidney disease and renal failure. As a person continues to use proton pump inhibitor medications, their ability to absorb important minerals and nutrients that help other parts of the body function decreases. When the body cannot absorb nutrients, the kidneys become inflamed. This results in the kidney’s inability to filter blood and balance out fluids in the body.

A 2016 study found that over the course of five years, consumers who took PPI medications were 28 percent more likely to develop kidney disease and 96 percent more likely to have renal disease than compared with people who took other forms of antacid medication.

PPIs also have been found to increase the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis because they prevent the absorption of calcium into the body, making the bones more fragile.

Common Medications That Use Proton Pump Inhibitors

PPIs are used in many commonly known brands, some of which can be found right on the pharmacy shelf and purchased over-the-counter. Popular proton pump inhibitor brands include:

  • Prilosec
  • Nexium
  • Prevacid
  • Dexilant
  • Protonix
  • Aciphex
  • Zegerid

Advertisements for these medications are rampant and many people use them to help with occasional heartburn. Unfortunately, using these products can potentially lead to kidney damage or other harmful side effects. It is important that the public be informed of all risks and dangers associated with any medication before starting to take it. Here – whether GERD is worth the risk of kidney damage is up to the consumer, but it’s information they absolutely should have.

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