We are also investigating stomach cancer lawsuits.
Millions of Americans suffer from heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and gastric ulcers. Most doctors recommend initially treating these conditions with a calcium carbonate antacid like Tums or an H2 blocker like Pepcid. But where there’s a common medical condition, there’s drug companies looking to make money.
That’s where proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) come in. Nexium is just a reformulated version of Prilosec (omeprazole), but through marketing efforts it became one of the best-selling drugs of all time, and today is still the second most-sold drug in America. Nexium is available both as a prescription drug and over-the-counter to treat GERD and acid reflux. According to some estimates, more than 70% of proton pump inhibitor prescriptions in older patients are unwarranted.(1) But PPIs have a dark side: a substantially increased risk of kidney injuries, including renal failure, acute interstitial nephritis, and chronic kidney disease. This page answers some of the most frequently asked questions about PPIs, kidney injuries, and Nexium lawsuits, including:
What Are The Long Term Side Effects Of Nexium?
Proton-pump inhibitors were first sold in the 1990s. Concerns about kidney injuries were raised early on, including in scientific journal articles published in 1992 and 1997.(2) Unfortunately, as I’ve discussed many times before on this website, most medications undergo minimal clinical testing before they’re sold to the public. As a result, many drug side effects aren’t recognized until after the drugs are on the market, when doctors, scientists, and epidemiologists start noticing trends in patients that use a particular drug. Even then, the drug companies refuse to recognize the safety problems with their drugs until the scientific evidence is overwhelming.
After proton-pump inhibitor drugs had been on the market for more than a decade, more evidence of their dangers began to surface, such as low magnesium levels in patients who used PPIs for a long time, prompting the FDA to issue a warning. Warnings were also posted for bone fractures. Studies have also shown connections between Nexium and heart attacks, dementia, and hepatic encephalopathy. Increasingly, scientific studies began to show that PPIs had a unique side effect on the kidneys, including acute interstitial nephritis and acute kidney injury.(3) In December 2014, the FDA forced the manufacturers of Nexium and Prevacid to update their drug labels to include warnings about acute interstitial nephritis.(4)
Have Proton-Pump Inhibitors Been Shown To Cause Kidney Injuries?
In February 2016, researchers at Johns Hopkins published an article in JAMA Internal Medicine that found people who used PPIs were 45% to 50% more likely to develop chronic kidney disease.(5) The connection wasn’t just a theory: the researchers had reviewed the records of more than 10,000 patients in North Carolina, Mississippi, Minnesota, and Maryland. Importantly, twice-daily users had an even higher risk than once-daily users, which further confirmed the link between PPI use and chronic kidney disease.
In April 2016, researchers from the VA in Saint Louis published an article in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology that found people who used PPIs were more likely to develop chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease.(6) This study, too, involved a large number of patients: a review of more than 170,000 PPI users in the medical records of the Department of Veteran Affairs. Importantly, like in the Johns Hopkins study, the more a person used PPIs, the more likely they were to suffer kidney disease. People who used PPIs for fewer than 30 days were unaffected. People who used PPIs for 31 days to 90 days were nearly twice as likely to develop chronic kidney disease. People who used PPIs for 90 days or more were more than twice as likely to develop chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease.
So how do proton-pump inhibitors cause chronic kidney disease? The medical community is divided. Personally, having worked in the medical-legal field for years, including both medical malpractice lawsuits and drug injury lawsuits, I think the answer is simple. It is well-known that proton-pump inhibitors cause acute interstitial nephritis, and that most acute interstitial nephritis is caused by medications, but only one-quarter of patients are suspected to have PPI-induced nephritis before a kidney biopsy. Because most patients don’t develop a fever, rash, eosinophilia, or the classic triad of hypersensitivity, doctors simply don’t think through the patient’s full clinical picture. Thus, the nephritis caused by proton-pump inhibitors goes undiagnosed and unchecked for weeks, months, or years, leading to progressive inflammatory tubulointerstitial processes that develop into chronic interstitial fibrosis.
Have There Been Any Lawsuits? What About Settlements Or Jury Verdicts?
So far, a few dozen lawsuits have been filed that allege PPIs cause kidney injuries. For example, in August 2016, a New Jersey man who suffered kidney failure and needed a kidney transplant filed a lawsuit against AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, the drug company behind Nexium. AstraZeneca has denied the allegations. Similar lawsuits have been filed in California, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. These cases are all very recent, and none have reached the stage where they have a settlement or would be tried in court before a judge and jury. Here is a copy of the complaint in one of the cases; most of the complaints filed make similar claims.
More Nexium lawsuits will follow. Typically, as more and more lawsuits are filed, the cases will be “consolidated” in a handful of particular courts. Common places where these lawsuits are consolidated including Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where, for example, many Xarelto lawsuits are being heard) and Chicago, Illinois (where, for example, many Actos cases were heard). A petition was recently filed requesting the cases be consolidated in a federal court in Louisiana. There are no Nexium class action lawsuits, nor any class action lawsuits for Prilosec or Prevacid. Given federal court rulings over the past twenty years, it is virtually impossible to bring drug injury lawsuits as a class action. On the whole, that’s a good thing: although cases are often “consolidated,” each case is individually filed, giving each injured plaintiff more control over their own case and if it is settled.
How Can I File A Nexium Lawsuit?
You should talk with a Nexium lawyer quickly. Unfortunately, every state has a “statute of limitations” that forces injured people to file a lawsuit within a particular amount of time. There’s no benefit in waiting, and waiting too long could cost you the right to sue. Many of these cases may involved a medical malpractice aspect as well, and many states have additional limitations on medical malpractice cases.
Many drug injury law firms, including mine, are accepting these cases. I’ve worked with drug injury lawyers from New York to California, and I’ll be blunt: there are plenty of good lawyers out there and plenty of bad ones, too. It’s often hard to clients to know which lawyer to choose, because so many of them seem the same. Sometimes big firms with lots of lawyers and flashy websites treat their clients like commodities; sometimes small firms have a personal touch but are in over their heads. It’s hard to know until pick up the phone and talk with them. If you get pressure to sign something when you don’t feel comfortable with, walk away and call another law firm. It’s your case, not their’s.
Lawsuits against multi-billion-dollar drug companies aren’t as simple as fender-bender cases. The cases require advocating against the most expensive law firms in the world, reviewing millions of pages of documents, obtaining testimony under oath from dozens of drug company employees, hiring some of the best experts in the world to support our cases (including nephrologists, epidemiologists, and regulatory experts), and investing millions of dollars in case expenses.
We’re up to the task and have succeeded in drug injury cases before, including the recent Actos and Pradaxa litigations, both of which resulted in substantial settlements to our clients. I’ve argued case-deciding motions in litigations involving hundreds of injured plaintiffs, I’ve deposed corporate officers at the top of drug companies, and I’ve worked with world-class experts on their reports. I live and breathe this kind of work. For example, back in June 2016, I told Forbes magazine that the clinical trials for Xarelto were like “an elementary school science fair project.” In October 2016, the FDA performed its own re-analysis of some of those same trials.
If you’re interested in talking with my firm, give my office a call at (215) 948-2718 or toll-free (844) 459-8719, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the contact form below. Our consultations are always free and confidential. We always represent our clients on a “contingent fee” agreement, where you don’t pay anything unless we win.