Ohio pharmaceutical attorney and Heartburn drug injury lawyer reviewing Zantac cancer lawsuits and PPI kidney damage in plaintiffs nationwide

A recent study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), indicates that long-term use of very popular drugs used to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers may dramatically increase the patient’s risk for PPI kidney damage and kidney disease.

Recalls of ranitidine and Zantac have also concerned attorneys as many cancer cases related to the drugs are popping up around the nation.

Doctors regularly prescribe proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to help people who suffer from regular heartburn, ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux. The medications are especially popular because they relieve symptoms rather quickly.

However, these new findings suggest the long-term use of PPIs should be avoided because it may damage the kidneys. Studies show long-term use may not only increase the risk of developing chronic kidney disease, but may also increase the risk of its progression to total kidney failure.

In fact, patients who took PPI’s for an extended time had a 96% increased rate of total kidney failure compared to patients who took an H2 histamine receptor blocker. The most widely used heartburn drugs include:

  • Zantac (ranitidine)
  • Prevacid
  • Prilosec
  • Nexium
  • Protonix
  • Aciphex
  • Zegerid
  • Dexilent
  • Kapidex

Zantac Cancer Risk

Zantac, a popular heartburn drug, has been recalled due to contamination risks. Consumer safety attorneys allege some cancer cases may be linked to cancer-causing chemicals found in Zantac medications.

Patients diagnosed with Bladder, Colorectal, Esophageal, Intestinal, Kidney, Liver, Ovarian, Pancreatic, Stomach, Testicular, or Uterine cancer after taking Zantac or ranitidine should contact The Lyon Firm. 

PPI Kidney Damage Risk

In 2013, an estimated 15 million Americans used PPIs such as Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid and others. This number is likely an underestimate because the medications are also available over-the-counter.

Consumers see these medications at their local drug stores and assume they are safe, however kidney specialists now say there is evidence that shows they’re not as safe as previously thought. In fact, some researcher say the odds among PPI users to develop kidney problems are almost doubled.

Those most at risk are long-term users of these particular drugs. The studies showed a graded association between duration of PPI use and risk of kidney problems, which means those who took PPIs for a longer period of time are the most likely to develop kidney issues. Patients on PPIs for one to two years had a 300 percent higher risk of kidney failure than those who used the drugs for a month or less.

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Dangers of PPI Drugs

Proton pump inhibitor use has been associated with a higher risk of incident Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) for years. The evidence continues to mount against the long-term use of these medications.

A 2013 study concluded that patients with a renal disease diagnosis were twice as likely to have previously used a prescription for a PPI. The study concluded that it is necessary for physicians to increase recognition of patient complaints in order to prevent catastrophic injury.

Another study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January, 2016, showed a strong correlation between kidney damage and the use of drugs such as Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec. Contact an Ohio heartburn drug injury lawyer following injury.

In the study, investigators identified over 170,000 new users of PPIs. Over five years of follow-up study, PPI users had a 28 percent increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease and a 96 percent increased risk of that ending in kidney failure.

Significant Side Effects of PPIs

Because PPI drugs like Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid are sold over-the-counter, it is assumed they have a low toxicity. But the potential serious side effects should not be overlooked.

These risks go beyond kidney damage and renal failure. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, bone fractures are considered a safety concern if patients use PPIs for longer than a year. Newer research has identified a number of other additional hazards from the prolonged use of PPIs, including the following:

•    Dementia
•    Heart Attack
•    Kidney Failure
•    Bone fractures
•    Bone-density loss
•    Nutrient deficiencies
•    Infections (C. difficile)
•    Pneumonia
•    Acute interstitial nephritis (possibly leading to kidney failure)

PPIs Heavily Overprescribed

Researchers suggest that PPIs are heavily overprescribed. In one recent study, as many as 80 percent of patients prescribed PPIs had no “valid documented indications” of having true gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

According to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, almost 20 percent of adult Americans have been diagnosed with GERD or Peptic Ulcer Disease.

There are a number of treatment options for GERD, yet by all measures, prescriptions for proton pump inhibitors have overshadowed all other acid inhibiting agents. PPI drugs like Zantac, Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid now account for over 90 percent of the market share.

Ohio Heartburn Drug Lawyer

There are safer ways to control unpleasant symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers. The most logical place to start is to utilize less-severe methods to control the issue. Doctors say lifestyle changes like diet changes and weight loss should be the first considerations.

There are also effective, less expensive, safer drugs available, such as antacids and H2 blockers which are not correlated to high rates of kidney damage. If the alternatives are not effective, and a person does have a prescription for a PPI, it should be used sparingly and only taken for a short period of time.

Consumers should be wary of this new information, and contact a heartburn drug injury lawyer following kidney issues.  Given the widespread use of these drugs, even a small increased risk of medical issues could have a considerable impact on public health.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati pharmaceutical attorney and Ohio heartburn drug injury lawyer representing victims of heartburn drug cancer and PPI kidney damage nationwide. Call 800.513.2403 for a free consultation.