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Long-term use of the PPI heartburn medication Protonix (generic: pantoprazole) has been linked to severe, potentially life-threatening kidney injuries including acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) and renal failure.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

The heartburn medication Protonix has been linked to an increase for chronic kidney disease (CKD), renal failure, heart attack, stomach cancer, bone fractures and other serious side effects.

Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was injured by a heartburn drug, 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: Common Heartburn Drugs Linked to Doubled Risk of Stomach Cancer

December 1, 2017 – Protonix and other acid rerflux drugs from the Proton pump inhibitor class have been linked to a greater-than-doubled risk of developing stomach cancer [1], a new study has found. The increased risk is tied to a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, carried by more than half of the world’s population – most often harmlessly, but in a small percentage of people, the bug has been found to cause stomach cancer.

What is Protonix?

Protonix (generic: pantoprazole) is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medication used in the treatment of peptic ulcer disease. It is chemically structured to help the secretion of acid from the stomach glands. There are generic brands of Protonix, but the drug usually comes in a 40mg oral medicine tablet that is delayed-release and long lasting. Protonix was developed by Atlanta and is currently marketed by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories.

To relieve the symptoms of gastric reflux, many patients are prescribed Protonix for a period of several months or longer. For many, the relief Protonix brings is welcomed. However, mounting evidence and numerous case studies have shown that Protonix and other PPIs may cause harm to some patients.

Heartburn Medications Linked to Kidney Disease

PPIs may increase the risk of long-term kidney damage, according to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine [2]. When researchers looked at the records of over 10,000 patients treated in community-based settings, they found a 20-50% increased risk of CKD among PPI users compared to non-users. The link was also identified when the study’s authors examined the records of more than 248,000 people treated in a Pennsylvania hospital system.

CKD Symptoms

  • Changes in urination
  • Swelling in the ankles, legs, feet and/or hands
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash / itching
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling cold
  • Metallic taste in mouth / ammonia breath
  • Dizziness / trouble concentrating
  • Leg / flank pain

Side Effects of Protonix

  • Acute interstitial nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys)
  • Acute kidney injury
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • Kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Heart attack
  • Stomach cancer
  • Bone fractures (hip fracture, wrist fracture, spine fracture)
  • Broken bones
  • Low magnesium levels (hypomagnesemia)
  • Gut infections
  • Dementia
  • And more

Also read: Prilosec Renal Failure Lawsuit

Bone Fractures

PPI medications like Protonix have been linked to a possible increase in the risk of fractures because the drugs reduce the acid in the stomach that block against harmful bacteria. Fractured hips, wrists and spines are serious and painful injuries which can severely restrict mobility and limit the patient’s quality of life. Long-term use of PPIs like Protonix in older patients may increase the risk of suffering hip fractures by up to 25%.

Precautions when taking Protonix

Since Protonix contains sodium, patients who are on salt restricted diets like those with heart failure should avoid taking the medication. Because it may cause bleeding, patients taking blood thinning agents should be careful while taking protonix. The safety of this medication in pregnant women has not been proven and is not recommended for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

PPI Heartburn Medicines Linked to Dermatological Reactions, Study Finds

October 23, 2017 – A case report presented at this year’s meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology found that the proton pump inhibitors pantoprazole (Protonix) and lansoprazole (Prevacid) were linked to 2 distinct dermatological reactions. The case involved a 32-year-old man who was initially prescribed pantoprazole after presenting with dyspepsia-like symptoms.

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.

Study Finds Increased Risk of Death with PPI Heartburn Medications

July 5, 2017 – Proton pump inhibitors have been linked to a 25% greater risk of death compared to patients who took H2 blockers, according to a study published Monday in BMJ [3]. The study also found that PPI use was linked to a 15% increased death rate compared to patients who took another kind of acid suppressor other than H2 blockers, and that the death rate was 23% higher among PPI users compared to people who took no such medications.

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.

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 [4]. 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.

PPIs linked to Stomach Infections, Study Finds

January 6, 2017 – People who take proton pump inhibitors like Protonix may be at an increased risk for developing severe gut infections, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. The researchers found that among a cohort of 565,000 adults, patients who used PPIs had higher rates of infection with C. difficile and Campylobacter bacteria compared to those who didn’t take the medications.

PPI Kidney Damage Plaintiffs Seek Lawsuit Consolidation

October 20, 2016 – Plaintiffs who allegedly developed acute interstitial nephritis, chronic kidney disease and renal failure after taking proton pump inhibitors have filed a motion seeking consolidation of the complaints in the Middle District of Louisiana.

Protonix Side Effects May Include Rhabdomyolysis, Case Report Finds

September 26, 2016 – A case report published last month in the journal Medicine [5] suggests that an intravenous dose of the proton pump inhibitor Nexium (esomeprazole) may have caused a patient to develop rhabdomyolysis. Over time, this serious muscle disorder can lead to kidney damage and renal failure, side effects that have been repeatedly linked to the use of PPIs.

PPI Heartburn Drugs Linked to Brain Problems, Study Finds

September 1, 2016 – Proton pump inhibitors may increase the risk of loss of brain function (hepatic encephalopathy or “HE”) and fluid buildup in the abdomen (ascites), according to a new study published in the journal Hepatology [6]. The researchers found that PPIs’ mechanism of action in decreasing gastric acid production and increasing the pH of the stomach can cause gut bacteria to overpopulate and pass into the blood or lymph nodes. PPI-induced bacterial overgrowth may lead to hepatic encephalopathy, according to the study.

Study Shows Heartburn Drugs Linked to Cardiovascular Complications

August 19, 2016 – Add cardiovascular complications in patients with heart disease to the growing list of potential health risks associated with proton pump inhibitors like Protonix. A recent study published in the International Journal of Cardiology [7] linked prolonged PPI use to a worsening of red blood count indexes, lower weight and underutilization of cardioprotective medications. The research strengthened early studies which connected PPIs to poor cardiovascular outcomes.

Hawaii to Recover $400K in Protonix Settlement

April 29, 2016 – Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin announced this week that the state had agreed to settle allegations against Wyeth, resolving allegations that the company knowingly underpaid rebates owed under Medicaid for Protonix Oral and Protonix IV sales between 2001 and 2006, according to Bizjournals [8]. Per the agreement, Wyeth will pay $784.6 million to the federal and state governments. Approximately $371 million of the $784.6 million settlement will go to the Medicaid Program, and Hawaii’s share is $420,337.77.

PPIs may Cause Kidney Failure, Study Finds

April 14, 2016 – Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may lead to an increased risk for kidney disease and renal failure, new research published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) [9] suggests. The study found that 15% of PPI users developed chronic kidney disease (CKD), compared to 11% of those who took histamine H2 receptor blockers (Pepcid, Tagamet, Zantac). After calculating for variables including age and other diseases, this equaled a 28% increased risk of CKD for proton pump inhibitor users.

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The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Protonix lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.

Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you were injured by Protonix side effects, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a lawsuit and we can help.

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