The Prevacid Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) Can Cause Side Effects Such As Acute Interstitial Nephritis, Chronic Kidney Disease, And Acute Renal Injury
Popular heartburn medications such as Prevacid have garnered celebrity endorsements who appear in television commercials to praise these drugs, claiming that they help them in being able to enjoy life and their favorite foods. For many individuals, Prevacid, Prilosec, and other similar drugs (whether over the counter or prescriptions) do just this and provide relief from painful heartburn symptoms. Others, however, have discovered that their heartburn medication may have caused serious health complications.
As the Food and Drug Administration begins to warn consumers about the health dangers these drugs pose, injured consumers who suffered kidney disease or other side effects after taking these medications are exploring their ability to obtain compensation for their injuries through the legal system.
How Proton Pump Inhibitors Work
Medications like Prevacid, Prilosec, and Nexium belong to a group of medications known as proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs.
These medications are designed to help provide relief to individuals suffering from the effects of recurrent episodes of heartburn. Heartburn occurs when the sphincter located at the top of the stomach weakens and allows acid from the stomach to escape into the esophagus. Stomach acid is produced by a chemical system known as the “proton pump” (its full name is the hydrogen-potassium adenosine triphosphatase enzyme system). A proton pump inhibitor works by reducing the amount of stomach acid produced by the cells lining the stomach. This can not only prevent heartburn but can also help alleviate the occurrence of stomach ulcers (which, too, occur because of excess acid in the stomach).
Dangerous Side Effects Associated with Proton Pump Inhibitors
Although the dangers of proton pump inhibitors have been known for some time, the Food and Drug Administration has only recently taken action to warn consumers of the dangerous side effects of these drugs.
Some of these side effects include:
- Acute interstitial nephritis: This condition can be mild or severe and involves swelling between a person’s kidney tubules (the structure that reabsorbs water from kidney filtrate and secretes waste product for expulsion from the body through urination). One of the most obvious signs of interstitial nephritis is a decrease in urination. Other common symptoms include fever, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, high blood pressure, and/or blood in the urine.
- Chronic kidney disease: This condition exists when a person’s kidney function decreases over time. A person’s kidneys perform an important filtration function – if the kidneys are not functioning well, waste product can build up in the blood and lead to illness and (if left untreated) death. When the kidneys are not able to function effectively, a person usually requires either a kidney transplant or dialysis to sustain his or her life.
- Acute kidney injury: Also known as acute renal injury, this condition is also characterized by a loss of kidney function. Unlike chronic kidney disease, however, acute kidney injury is a rapid loss of kidney function – usually over the course of approximately seven days. Like chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury can lead to a lethal buildup of toxins if left untreated.
Despite knowing about the links between proton pump inhibitors and kidney injuries and conditions for approximately ten years, the manufacturers of Prevacid, and other PPI drugs have only recently begun to warn consumers about this danger.
Drug Manufacturers Must Provide Warnings to Consumers About Side Effects
When a drug manufacturer introduces a new drug into the market, that manufacturer has a legal obligation to warn consumers about the potential side effects of the drug. The manufacturer must do this even if warning consumers would result in a decrease in sales or otherwise hurt the manufacturer’s bottom line. What is more, manufacturers cannot simply refuse to perform tests and studies aimed at discovering side effects and then claim ignorance: If the manufacturer could have uncovered a side effect through reasonable investigation, the manufacturer will still be held responsible if it fails to warn consumers.
Individuals who have suffered kidney injury or kidney disease as the result of proton pump inhibitor use claim in part that the manufacturers of these drugs did not provide sufficient warnings about the potential side effects of these drugs. These injured individuals claim that had they known about the risks of these drugs, they would not have taken them and would not have suffered injuries (or, at the very least, they would have been able to make a more informed decision about whether to take these drugs.)
If you find yourself in this situation after having taken a proton pump inhibitor, contact Stern Law, PLLC right away for help by calling (844) 808-7529. You may be entitled to compensation for your expenses, losses, and pain and suffering. Our defective drug lawyer will evaluate your case and help you understand the nature of your legal rights. Call Stern Law, PLLC today.