Initially, there were only 160 cases in the federal proton pump inhibitor litigation. At the start of 2018, the number of cases involved in the Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) had grown to over 500. The U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, is overseeing the litigation and I fully expect the number of cases to grow, as it gets closer to trial.
These lawsuits claim that taking popular heartburn medications like Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid, which fall under a class of drugs known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s), can have long-term, serious side effects, including chronic kidney disease, which can lead to kidney failure. There has also been alarming new research linking these same drugs to a greater-than-doubled risk of developing stomach cancer. An alarming new study suggests that pregnant mothers who take these heartburn medications may increase the risk that her child will suffer from asthma by more than a third.Published in the journal Pediatrics, it examined data from more than 1.6 million participants and concluded, “Pregnant women who used PPIs were 34 percent more likely to have children with asthma than their counterparts who didn’t take these drugs.”
Asthma is the leading chronic disease in youth and in the United States its estimated that almost 8.5% of children suffer from the condition. Symptoms include recurrent coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath. Left untreated, children with asthma may have less stamina than other children or avoid physical activities. Childhood asthma may also have long-term health and behavioral consequences including obesity, depression and increased absenteeism from school or work.
Childhood Asthma is only one of the health risks associated with PPI use. While the lawsuits in the current MDL focus on kidney damage, other research suggests that PPI’s might also be linked to stomach cancer, bone fractures, and dementia.
Proton Pump Inhibitors are one of the most common drugs prescribed by doctors. In the United States alone the drugs have become so popular that the PPI market is worth over $10 billion. The Center for Disease Control estimates that at least16 percent of Americans between 55 and 64 are taking heartburn medication, In the U.S. Prescription medications in this class include;
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Dexilent, Kapidex (dexlansoprazole)
- Aciphex (rabeprazole)
- Protonix (pantoprazole)
Over the counter PPIs include Nexium 24HR, Prilosec OTC, and Prevacid 24HR.
If you or a loved one has developed chronic kidney disease, suffered kidney failure or other serious medical injuries such as a heart attack or bone fractures after using a PPI medication, please do not hesitate to contact Saunders & Walker for a free consultation.