Two new studies published in 2017 have linked so-called proton pump inhibitor drugs such as Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid to a greater risk of serious cardiac problems and kidney disease. The two new studies add to the growing list of studies linking this class of drugs with serious, sometimes fatal health risks.
A 2017 study published in Kidney International found PPIs may cause kidney damage without immediate symptoms. Previous studies already linked the heartburn drugs to serious kidney problems. But, the study by Yan Xie and colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System found that some types of PPI kidney damage may be more difficult to diagnose without symptoms. The study involved 125,000 patients. More than half of them suffered chronic kidney damage from PPIs, but didn’t experience acute kidney problems to warn them of the decline in kidney function.
“Our results indicate kidney problems can develop silently and gradually over time, eroding kidney function and leading to long-term kidney damage or even renal failure,” said Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, the study’s senior author. “Patients should be cautioned to tell their doctors if they’re taking PPIs and only use the drugs when necessary.”
The lack of symptoms should alarm healthcare professionals since the damage may have already occurred before symptoms present themselves. If these studies prove conclusive, it would place PPI drugs into an entirely new category of dangerous drugs that should be dealt with swiftly by the federal government in order to protect the health and welfare of the public.
Those who’ve taken these drugs and have been seriously injured as a result are filing defective drug lawsuits against the manufacturers of these drugs. Currently, a handful of Nexium lawsuits are pending in federal multidistrict litigation in Massachusetts before Judge William G. Young. Lawsuits allege AstraZeneca did not adequately warn the public about the drug’s side effects.