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By Jim Adler June 24, 2016

Americans spend an estimated $9.5 billion yearly on over-the-counter drugs such as Nexium or Prilosec to fight the acid indigestion known as heartburn or to fight acid reflux, which is when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. But these drugs, also called proton pump inhibitors (PPI), can raise the risk of chronic kidney disease by 50 per cent and cause other serious side effects.

PPI Drugs Are Rampant

Even with Nexium or Prilosec kidney failure as a threat, use of so-called PPI drugs is rampant. More than 15 million Americans take PPI drugs for acid indigestion or related problems, such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and peptic ulcer disease.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Nexium and Prilosec for treatment in which the PPI drugs lowered the amount of acid that the stomach produces by blocking acids’ secretion into the stomach. They do this by reducing the body’s ability to absorb minerals, most notably magnesium.

Yet since PPI drugs were first FDA-approved, many harmful side effects have been uncovered due to Nexium, Prilosec or other PPI drugs such as Prevacid.

PPI Drug Side Effects

Along with chronic kidney disease (CKD), PPI drugs such as Nexium or Prilosec ultimately could cause kidney failure — and death. Some patients may require dialysis or even kidney transplants.

The drugs also are believed to contribute to PPI drug side effects such as:

  • An inflammatory kidney disease known as acute interstitial nephritis
  • Acute kidney inflammation
  • Osteoporosis
  • Broken bones
  • Arrhythmia and other heart ailments
  • Infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Seizures
  • Muscle spasms
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s symptoms

Persons suffering such Nexium or Prilosec side effects should see a physician immediately. They also should engage an injury lawyer or attorney to claim payments for their losses with a Nexium or Prilosec lawsuit.

Long-Term PPI Use is Dangerous

Studies show that long-term use of PPI drugs is dangerous. In fact, the longer they’re used, the greater the danger.

Persons using PPI drugs for one to two years have been found to face three times greater risk  of kidney failure than people who took the drugs for a month or less.

One problem is that consumers using over-the-counter (OTC) PPI drugs fail to heed instructions on the box, or are not advised to do so by their physician. OTC Nexium and Prilosec are sold in lower doses and are intended to be taken for two to four weeks at a time, with a maximum of three such courses in one year.

But many people keep taking the drugs anyway when heartburn symptoms persist, either because a healthcare professional approved it or because they did it on their own. Such long-term use can lead to kidney failure.

As for more potent PPI drugs sold by prescriptions, it’s believed that nearly three-fourths of users have received prescriptions inappropriately. That is, too many people are taking stronger, prescription-only PPI drugs and for too long.

“But I have heartburn,” some might protest. “What am I to do?” Well, consider that studies have shown 25 per cent of long-term PPI users could stop using the drugs and not suffer added heartburn or acid reflux.

Further, alternative heartburn drugs which aren’t PPI but rather are called H2 blockers — drugs such as Zantac, Pepcid and Tagamet — have a lower rate of association with chronic kidney disease.

Along with alternative drugs, Americans also can combat kidney failure risk caused by antacid drugs by stopping smoking, stopping alcohol consumption and changing their diet. Unlike Nexium and Prilosec, none of those things contribute to kidney failure, heart attack or other serious side effects of PPI drugs.

Nexium, Prilosec, PPI Drug Research

Research into Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI drugs has revealed the dangers listed above.

Such research suggests that Nexium (with active ingredient esomeprazole) and Prilosec (with active ingredient omeprazole) not only can harm kidneys, but also can do damage to the body’s arteries, contributing to a higher danger of heart attack, dementia and kidney failure.

A 2016 study at Houston Methodist Research Institute showed that endothelial cells which line artery walls had no signs of aging when exposed to heartburn drugs known as H2 blockers, but had a “fried egg” appearance when exposed to Nexium.

Researchers believe that since PPI drugs such as Nexium inhibit acid production by impairing parts of cells called lysosomes, “garbage” accumulates in the artery cells, causing them to age more rapidly.

Too, since vascular cells cannot proliferate or divide as readily with use of PPI drugs, it becomes harder for such cells to repair blood vessel wounds. That keeps them from doing tasks to avoid a stroke or heart attack.

Another study published in early 2016 in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that patients taking PPI drugs have a 20-50 per cent higher risk of chronic kidney disease than patients not using those drugs.

The study found that increasing a dosage led to increasing the risk.

Nexium, Prilosec Lawsuit Targets

Persons who have suffered kidney failure or other side effects from Nexium or Prilosec use can target the drug makers in Nexium or Prilosec lawsuits. Such injury lawsuits can be provided by Jim Adler & Associates, which has more than four decades of experience helping injured Americans get the payments they legally deserve.

Which drug makers are responsible?

Nexium, which was FDA-approved in 2001, has been sold by Pfizer Inc. for over-the-counter (non-prescription) use as Nexium 24HR since 2014. New York-based Pfizer bought the rights to OTC Nexium from the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca, which had developed Nexium in prescription form.

Prilosec, which was FDA-approved in 2003, is sold over-the-counter by Procter & Gamble of Cincinnati, OH.

FDA Warnings For Nexium, Prilosec

Though Prilosec and Nexium was approved by the FDA, the same agency revised their labels in 2014 to add FDA warnings of acute kidney injury along with kidney inflammation, or nephritis. These Nexium and Prilosec side effects can be fatal.

Also, in 2010 the FDA warned that proton pump inhibitors could raise the danger of broken bones, while also leading to lowered magnesium levels and contributing to bacteria-induced diarrhea.

If a member of your family has suffered side effects listed here after taking Nexium, Prilosec or other PPI drugs, alert Jim Adler & Associates today. You’ll quickly receive a free legal review of your case, and then can decide how you want to proceed.

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