Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) heartburn medications like Prilosec (omeprazole) may increase the risk of acute interstitial nephritis (AIN), a kidney disease characterized by rapid swelling of the kidney tubules.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one developed nephritis after taking 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.
PPIs like Prilosec are among the most widely used medications in existence, taken by millions of patients around the world, often for many years at a time. While these drugs have an excellent overall safety profile, concerns have been raised about their effect on the kidneys, having been specifically linked to a rare kidney disease called acute interstitial nephritis (AIN).
How Does Prilosec Work?
When you eat, millions of tiny pumps in your stomach make acid to help digest the food; heartburn occurs when too much of this acid backs up (“refluxes”) into the esophagus. Prilosec works by turning off many of these pumps to reduce the amount of acid produced, but leaving enough for the digestion process.
Acute Interstitial Nephritis
Acute interstitial nephritis, or AIN, is characterised by the infiltration into the interstitium of the kidney tubules by inflammatory cells. Why this occurs in many patients is unclear, but the mechanism of action typically involves an immune-mediated hypersensitivity reaction.
If left untreated, AIN can progress to acute kidney failure (end-stage renal disease or ESRD) and is a common cause of hospital admissions for the condition. A delay in diagnosis and continued use of Prilosec could lead to chronic kidney failure and more serious health consequences.
- Weight loss
If Prilosec is determined to be the cause of your acute interstitial nephritis, the only treatment needed may be to quit taking the drug. However, you should never quit or switch medications without talking to your doctor first.
Other cases of AIN can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications. Quick treatment often leads to a full recovery. However, nephritis often causes permanent damage to the kidneys before the condition can be diagnosed.
How Common is AIN?
The actual occurrence of PPI-induced acute interstitial nephritis is unknown, as many if not most cases are never reported due to confounding factors and lack of recognition. Nexium is the PPI most commonly associated with the condition. AIN has also been reported less frequently with other proton pump inhibitors such as Prevacid (generic: lansoprazole), but this may simply reflect volume of use and a class effect is suspected.
A 2010 study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found 6 cases of acute interstitial nephritis associated with PPIs from 210 kidney biopsies during 2007 and 2008.
Other Medications Linked to Nephritis
In addition to proton pump inhibitors, other types of drugs linked to AIN include:
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- Diuretics (particularly those with a sulphonamide moiety, such as furosemide and thiazides)
- Calcium Channel Blockers
- Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (particularly captopril),
Has There Been a Recall?
Despite the numerous studies and case reports linking heartburn medications like Prilosec to acute interstitial nephritis, no recall has been issued related to this condition in the U.S. or any other country. Additional research and further investigation may be needed to uncover all the facts that may eventually lead to a recall of Prilosec or other proton pump inhibitors.
Do I Have a Prilosec Interstitial Nephritis Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical 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 interstitial nephritis 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 compensation by filing a suit and we can help.