The proton pump inhibitor (PPI) heartburn drug Prilosec has been linked to serious side effects including chronic kidney disease (CKD), renal failure, bone fractures, heart attack and more.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured by Prilosec, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer and our lawyers can help.
Update: PPI Kidney Injury Suits Centralized in New Jersey
August 4, 2017 – The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on Wednesday ordered that all federally-filed lawsuits involving kidney injuries from PPI heartburn drugs will be consolidated in the District of New Jersey for pretrial handling. The panel’s ruling marked an about-face from it’s previous opinion on the matter, having in February rejected a bid to create an MDL. The reason for the change was due to the litigation’s substantial increase in size since the initial ruling, and because 2 defendants who previously opposed centralization — AstraZeneca and Pfizer — are now in support of it, according to JPML.
What is Prilosec?
Prilosec (generic: omeprazole) is a prescription medication used to treat the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), otherwise known as heartburn. The drug works by blocking the enzyme in the stomach wall that produces stomach acid. Prilosec is made by AstraZeneca, and was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2003.
Heartburn Drugs and Kidney Disease
A January 2016 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found a link between the use of PPI heartburn medications like Prilosec and chronic kidney disease. Researchers looked at more than 10,000 adults enrolled in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study conducted from Feb. 1, 1996 thru Dec. 31, 2011. The study determined that PPI use was linked to a 20% to 50% increased risk of kidney disease. The link was confirmed after adjusting for confounding variables including demographics, socioeconomic status, clinical measurements, prevalent comorbidities and concomitant use of other medications.
The study doesn’t prove a causative association between PPI use and CKD; however, “We found there was an increasing risk associated with an increasing dose,” the researchers said. “That suggests that perhaps this observed effect is real.”
Signs and symptoms of kidney disease include:
- weight loss and poor appetite
- swollen ankles, feet or hands
- shortness of breath
- blood or protein in your urine
- an increased need to urinate, particularly at night
- itchy skin
- muscle cramps
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- erectile dysfunction in men
Prilosec Kidney Disease Alert: Ring of Fire Video
The reduction of stomach acid can make it harder for the body to absorb some nutrients including calcium, which can lead to weakened bones and fractures. A December 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that prolonged and/or heavy use of Prilosec significantly increases the risk of hip fractures in patients over the age of 50.
The risk of these side effects is greatly increased in patients receiving high doses or in intervals greater than a year at a time. In March 2011, FDA updated an earlier drug safety communication indicating that it has determined that the use of high doses of PPIs for more than a year can increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures of the hip, wrist and spine. In May 2010, the FDA announced that warnings would be provided about the risk of bone fracture side effects from prescription strength PPI drugs. The warnings came after FDA drug safety reviewers looked at a number of epidemiological studies into PPI bone fracture risks.
Prilosec Side Effects
- Acute interstitial nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys)
- Acute kidney injury
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
- Kidney failure (renal failure)
- Heart attack
- Bone fractures (hip fracture, wrist fracture, spine fracture)
- Broken bones
- Low magnesium levels (hypomagnesemia)
Warning: Prilosec Can Interfere With Plavix
In November 2009, the FDA warned the public and healthcare professionals that individuals taking the anti-clotting drug Plavix should not take Prilosec and Nexium because they may lessen the effects of Plavix. This may prove problematic since approximately 50% of patients taking Plavix also take Nexium, Prilosec and other similar drugs to prevent stomach bleeding and ulcers, which are common side effects of taking Plavix. A previous study indicated that if you took PPI drugs like Prilosec, the risk of heart attack and stroke increased by 50%.
Addicts Using Prilosec & Imodium Cocktail to Create Heroin-Like High
Some opiate addicts are combining Prilosec with Imodium (loperamide) to obtain a heroin-like high, according to the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). Because the body does not absorb Imodium as readily as it does other opiates, users who take Imodium as directed will not experience a high. However, addicts have learned to mix Imodium with Prilosec to speed up the drug’s absorption into the bloodstream.
“The Prilosec changes the way our body handles the Imodium,” said Dr. William D. Eggleston, a clinical toxicologist at the Upstate New York Poison Center in Syracuse. “We have pumps along our gastrointestinal tract and they pump the Imodium away. Prilosec blocks those pumps, and that drastically reduces the amount of loperamide, or Imodium, needed to produce a high.”
PPIs Linked to Increased Risk of Pneumonia in Dementia Patients
April 5, 2017 – Dementia patients who take proton pump inhibitors have an 89% increased risk of developing pneumonia compared to dementia patients who don’t use the medications, according to a study published last month in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Independent risk factors for pneumonia included age, male gender, underlying cerebrovascular disease, chronic pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus, and antipsychotic use.
California Woman Alleges Kidney Failure from Prilosec
March 27, 2017 – A woman from California who is awaiting a kidney transplant has filed a products liability lawsuit against AstraZeneca alleging that the company failed to warn that long-term use of Prilosec could damage the kidneys. Plaintiff Penelope Costamagna allegedly used Prilosec to treat heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and subsequently developed serious injuries including kidney damage that will require transplantation.
PPIs Linked to Increased Risk for Heart Failure, Death
March 23, 2017 – Proton pump inhibitor heartburn medicines have been linked to an increased risk for heart failure and death in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a recent study published in PLOS ONE. The researchers found that PPIs are commonly used to prevent complications in CAD patients treated with chronic antiplatelet therapy (aspirin, Plavix, Effient); however, when used in this capacity, proton pump inhibitors may increase the risk of adverse health consequences including pneumonia, micronutrient deficiencies, and osteoporosis-related fractures.
Prilosec linked to Stomach Infections
January 6, 2017 – People who use PPIs like Prilosec may be at an increased risk of developing severe gut infections, according to a new study. The research, published Thursday in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, found that among 565,000 adults, patients who took proton pump inhibitors had higher rates of infection with C. difficile and Campylobacter bacteria compared to those who didn’t use the drugs.
Prilosec Kidney Damage Lawsuits May Be Consolidated
October 20, 2016 – Plaintiffs who filed lawsuits over kidney injuries from Prilosec and other PPI heartburn drugs have filed a motion seeking consolidation of the complaints into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Middle District of Lousiana. Should the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decide to centralize the complaints, plaintiffs around the nation will be united by their common allegations against PPI manufacturers.
Prilosec Side Effects May Include Rhabdomyolysis, Case Report Finds
September 26, 2016 – A case report published last month in Medicine suggests that an intravenous dose of the PPI Nexium (esomeprazole) may have caused a patient to develop rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly. Over time, rhabdomyolysis can lead to kidney damage and renal failure, side effects that have previously been linked to the use of proton pump inhibitors.
PPIs Linked to Brain Problems, Study Finds
September 1, 2016 – Proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec may cause loss of brain function and fluid buildup in the abdomen, according to a new study published in Hepatology. The study’s authors determined that 52% of patients took a PPI during clinical trials, and these patients had a 31% 1-year risk for loss of brain function (hepatic encephalopathy or “HE”).
“Our findings suggest that prescription of PPIs to patients with cirrhosis at risk of HE needs an appropriate indication,” said Dr. Gitte Dam at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, lead author of the study.
PPIs Linked to Cardiovascular Complications, Study Finds
August 19, 2016 – Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors may cause cardiovascular complications in patients with heart disease, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Cardiology. PPI users were 6 times more likely to suffer from anemia and a worsening metabolic profile, the study found. The researchers concluded that prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors was associated with a worsening of red blood count indexes, lower weight and underutilization of cardioprotective medications.
Do I have a Prilosec Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Prilosec lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new kidney damage cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you were injured by Prilosec side effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a lawsuit and we can help.