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The Facts About Nexium and Prilosec
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what you eat, when you eat, or if you sit or lay down after eating, you end up regurgitating stomach acid clear into the esophagus and suffering serious heartburn. For millions of people, the symptoms are so severe that a regular antacid offers very little relief, if any, and they have to turn to stronger medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter. Nexium, from AstraZeneca and Prilosec, are among the drugs that heartburn suffers turn to the most.
If you or someone you love depends on Nexium or Prilosec to treat chronic heartburn or acid reflux, you are probably wondering if the efficacy of these types of medications is worth the serious risks. This guide aims to give you the facts about proton pump inhibitors, also known as PPI’s.
Important Warning Video
What is Nexium?
Nexium (esomeprazole) is a type of drug called a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) that works by blocking the systems that produce stomach acid. Other PPI’s include Prevacid (lansoprazole) and Prilosec (omeprazole).
Nexium is used as a treatment for:
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Dyspepsia (indigestion)
- Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome
Nexium was approved for sale on the U.S. market by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001 and has since become the second most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with manufacturer Astra Zeneca realizing annual sales of between $5 and $6 billion per year.
Chronic Kidney Disease
A study published in 2016 in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that users of Nexium and other PPI medications like Prilosec faced up to a 50 percent higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) than users of older stomach medications.[i] Researchers also concluded that patients who took a higher daily dose of the drug also had a higher risk of developing CKD than those who took a lower daily dose.
Kidney Injury and Renal Failure
A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology reports that the long-term use of Nexium and PPIs increases the risk of the development of acute kidney injury and acute interstitial nephritis. Researchers found that people who were treated with PPIs had more than a twofold increase their chances of developing acute kidney injury, a type of condition where the kidney stop functioning, and can include renal failure.
While many studies have analyzed the negative effects of the long term use of Nexium, one study, published in the journal Gastroenterology found that after 8 weeks of use, people suffered heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux when the medication was stopped. Researchers are evaluating if Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors create dependency use and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
In February 2016, researchers published a study in the journal JAMA Neurology that found that older people who take Nexium and other PPIs may have a 44 percent increased risks of developing dementia. The authors of the study said that it seems as though Nexium effects of the levels of some proteins that have been associated with cognitive impairment.
PPI Increased Cancer Risks
People who take PPIs like Nexium and Prilosec have a higher risk of developing stomach cancer than people who don’t use these types of medications. In fact, researchers followed over 63,000 study participants for seven to eight years and determined that people who used PPIs like Prilosec and Nexium were more than two times more likely to develop gastric cancer.
Even more troubling: people who take these drugs for a year increased their risk by five times; people who use the drugs for two or more years have six-times the risk, and more than 3 years of use jumps your risk of developing gastric cancer by eight times the risk faced by nonusers.
Another study showed that PPI users were more than three times more likely to develop stomach cancer than nonusers. Further, study authors noted that people under the age of 40 who use PPIs had an even higher risk.
Then a letter was published in the journal Gut that proposed the association between PPIs and stomach cancer was established in the 1980s. The study authors suggest that the carcinogenic effects of PPIs should have been realized decades before patients were exposed to their dangers and noted that omeprazole may be the first medicine accepted for use in humans after inducing cancer in clinical tests involving rats.
PPI Stomach Cancer Symptoms
If you or someone you know is taking PPI medications, you should be aware of the symptoms of stomach cancer, such as:
- Losing weight for no reason
- Persistent vomiting
- Pain in the stomach or abdomen
- Chronic nausea
- Chronic indigestion
- Severe and persistent heartburn
- Severe fatigue
- Feeling full after eating just a little food
There are five layers of the stomach, the mucosa and submucosa, where stomach acid is made, the muscularis propria which mixes stomach content, and the subserosa and serosa, the layers that wrap the outside of the organ.
Cancer can affect any of the five layers, though the disease most often begins in the mucosa before spreading to the outer layers. The more layers are involved, the more advanced the cancer.
Typically, if the disease does not spread from the mucosa layer, the cancer can be treated without the need for surgery. But as the disease advances, parts of the stomach, or the stomach entire may have to be removed.
People who have used PPI medications like Prilosec and Nexium are questioning when the makers of these medications knew of the increased risks of cancer, and why the manufacturers did not warn of these dangers.
While the manufacturers market their products heavily through commercial and advertisements, they did not warn of the increased risks of cancer in online or print ads, or on television or radio commercials. In fact, the makers did not warn of these dangers in the prescribing guides that are provided to physicians, nor in the information guides that patients receive.
If you developed stomach cancer after being treated with Prilosec, Nexium or other PPI medication, contact us now to learn if you are eligible to seek compensation for your injuries and losses.
Other Serious Side Efects
Nexium, Prilosec, and other PPIs may also cause other serious side effects in people who use the over-the-counter or the prescription medications. The Nexium warning label states that some users may experience:
- Bone fractures – especially of the hip, spine, and wrist
- C. difficile related diarrhea
- Low magnesium levels
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency
Researchers continue to analyze the safety and efficacy of Nexium and other PPIs, hoping to understand more about their effects on the body. But for an untold number of people who have suffered one of the drug’s serious side effects, the research is too late. Many people who took a prescription or over-the-counter version of Nexium and suffered kidney disease, renal failure, dementia or other side effect are filing lawsuits against AstraZeneca alleging that the drug manufacturer failed to warn about the risks associated with its drug.
Prescription Nexium was approved for the U.S. market in 2001, and since that time, millions of people all over the world have taken the drug to alleviate the painful symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn. Though symptoms like dry mouth and nausea are known symptoms that are overweighed by the benefits of the medication, many patients never expected to suffer the serious and disabling side effects. As researchers continue to publish their findings, many are turning to the legal system to get help paying for medical expenses and other costs associated with the side effects. In fact, a group of people joined together in a complaint against AstraZeneca alleging the company failed to use reasonable care when making and marketing the allegedly defective drug. The complaint also alleges the company failed to disclose significant side effect risks and misrepresented the drug as safe, and then benefited from this misrepresentation.
- In 2015, AstraZeneca agreed to a $20 million settlement from allegations that the company marketed Nexium as a safer and more effective medication than Prilosec, a nearly identical PPI medication.
- Also in 2015, the Department of Justice settled with AstraZeneca for $7.9 million over allegations that the pharmaceutical company engaged in kickback schemes to further promote Nexium use.
- A lawsuit filed in 2016 claims that after he started taking Nexium in 2006, the plaintiff developed chronic kidney disease and renal failure, forcing him to undergo a kidney transplant.
- A group of Texans joined together to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer alleging they broke foot bones, legs bones, arms, wrists, and even vertebrae and cranial fractures after taking Nexium long-term. The plaintiffs charge the company with breach of duty, negligence, misrepresentation, fraud, and product defects among other claims.
How to Get Help
We are dedicated advocates for the rights of those who have been harmed by medications like Nexium. Far too often, the persons who are harmed by drugs like Nexium are those who have tried everything but weren’t able to get relief without a PPI. We believe AstraZeneca should be held responsible for those harms and should provide you the maximum compensation available so you can begin to heal without suffering a financial burden. Our firm has spent decades fighting big pharma who puts profits over the safety of the patients who need them most. We hold them accountable for:
- Current and Future Health Care Costs
- Pain and Suffering
- Psychological distress and emotional anguish
If you or someone you love is suffering from Nexium bone fractures, dementia, chronic kidney disease, kidney injury, or end stage renal failure call us today. We will get through this together.