The heartburn medication Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium) has been linked to an increased risk for nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys) and chronic kidney disease (CKD), conditions that can lead to kidney failure if left untreated.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you suffered kidney failure or other damage to your kidneys after taking Nexium, 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: Proton Pump Inhibitors Linked to Kidney Disease, Study Finds
April 14, 2016 – Taking Nexium or other PPI heartburn medication may increase your risk of chronic kidney disease and renal failure, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The researchers found that those who take proton pump inhibitors are more likely than people who take histamine H2 receptor blockers (Pepcid, Tagamet, Zantac) to develop CKD or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) over a 5-year period.
What is Nexium?
Since it was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in September 2001, Nexium has become one of the most widely prescribed drugs in America, and generated about $6 billion in annual sales for AstraZeneca before it lost patent protection and became available as a generic.
Nexium is used to treat the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, stomach ulcers and inflammation of the esophagus. It belongs to a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPI) which includes Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole) and others.
AstraZeneca has aggressively marketed the “Purple Pill” as safe and effective; however, recent studies have found that users of the drug may face an increased risk of long-term kidney damage and even full-blown kidney failure.
PPIs Linked to Nephritis: FDA Warning
In December 2014, FDA announced new warnings to the labeling of Nexium and other PPI heartburn medications regarding a form of kidney damage called acute interstitial nephritis, which is characterized by a sudden inflammation of the kidneys that can lead to more severe problems.
Acute interstitial nephritis has been observed in patients taking PPIs including Nexium,” the warning states. “Acute interstitial nephritis may occur at any point during PPI therapy and is generally attributed to idiopathic hypersensitivity reaction. Discontinue Nexium if acute interstitial nephritis develops.”
Nexium Kidney Damage Studies
In April 2015, a study published in the medical journal CMAJ Open found that PPI users had a 2.5-fold increased risk of developing acute kidney injury, as well as a 3 times higher risk of acute interstitial nephritis compared to patients who did not take the drugs. The study’s authors highlighted the importance of doctors understanding the risk of these injuries, indicating that patients should be monitored and indiscriminate PPI use should be discouraged.
Another study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2016 found that PPIs may significantly increase the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). The researchers looked at data on more than 10,000 participants in the the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), and determined that PPI users had a 45% increased risk of CKD compared to non-users. When the figures were adjusted for demographics, socioeconomic and clinical variables, a 50% increased risk was detected. If left untreated, kidney disease and nephritis may lead to kidney failure (end-stage renal disease or ESRD), the need for life-long dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant.
Kidney Failure Symptoms
According to the American Kidney Fund, kidney failure is the last stage of CKD. When the kidneys fail, it means they have stopped functioning adequately enough for the patient to survive without dialysis or a kidney transplant. Signs and symptoms of kidney failure include:
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea / vomiting
- Not feeling hungry
- Swelling in the feet and/or ankles
- Changes in urinary output
- Trouble sleeping
Patients with ERSD will require dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. There is no cure for kidney failure, but many people with the condition live long lives while undergoing dialysis or after having a kidney transplant. There are many options available to treat kidney failure, including kidney transplant and several types of dialysis. Your doctor can help you figure out which treatment option is best for you.
Do I Have a Nexium Kidney Failure Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Nexium lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new kidney failure cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one developed kidney failure from Nexium, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.