Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a class of drugs taken to treat conditions such as gastric reflux and peptic ulcers. Prilosec (omeprazole) has been linked to various side effects including kidney disease, reports Medscape.
This popular heartburn medication was the focus of a recent study where it was revealed that PPI users may have an increased risk of serious kidney damage. It is referred to as the “silent kidney disease as it can occur without any accompanying symptoms of kidney problems, and may go undetected for years.
Researchers said in the February 2017 journal Kidney International their study results “indicate kidney problems can develop silently and gradually over time, eroding kidney function and leading to long-term kidney damage or even renal failure.”
National law firm Parker Waichman LLP has extensive experience and success in pharmaceutical litigation. Attorneys at the firm are available to answer questions for individuals seeking information regarding a potential lawsuit.
Data Analysis Findings
Follow-up analysis of data over five years of 144,032 people from the Department of Veterans Affairs database, researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis discovered that over half of those using PPIs who developed chronic kidney damage and end-stage renal failure did not suffer acute kidney problems.
Of the participants, 125,596 were new users of PPIs and 18,436 were new users of a different heartburn medication called H2 blockers. Only 7.67 percent of the H2 blockers participants developed chronic kidney damage without having acute kidney problems and 1.27 percent developed end-stage renal failure.
Study researchers said these findings show that onset of acute kidney issues is not a dependable warning sign to detect the diminishing of kidney function among individuals who are taking PPIs, including Prilosec.
Researchers published results from a study in January 2016 in JAMA Internal Medicine stating it was found there was a 20 to 50 percent increased risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) linked to Prilosec and other antacid medications. In April 2016, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) reported that PPIs, including Prilosec, may lead to an increased potential danger of kidney disease and kidney failure.
Previous PPI Studies
This study last April compared acute kidney injury in patients who started PPIs within 120 days to those who did not. “These new concerns for CKD, acute kidney injury, and possibly dementia associated with PPIs, join a long list of other concerns about side effects from PPIs. Those include decreased calcium absorption, increased fracture risk, decreased iron absorption, and poor magnesium absorption.
There have been a number of studies in the last five years that have documented an association between chronic PPI use and hypomagnesemia, most likely due to decreased intestinal absorption. Some experts have speculated that poor magnesium absorption and hypomagnesemia predispose patients to kidney injury,” according to Medscape.
Warnings Concerning Prilosec and other PPIs
The most recent study is more disturbing, especially because Prilosec is a medication that is available over-the-counter (OTC) and many people take this drug and other PPIs for too long a period of time and without being under a physician’s care.
If an individual is taking Prilosec for longer than six weeks, health care professionals recommend that a doctor be consulted about discontinuing the medication. Also, those taking PPIs may want to get information about the risk of chronic kidney damage. Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University’s School of Medicine and senior author of the study said, patients should only use PPIs if necessary and to inform their doctors about their taking the drugs.
Numerous Prilosec lawsuits involving bone fractures have been filed against the manufacturer, AstraZeneca. In light of these studies that show Prilosec kidney damage, investigations are ongoing due to hundreds of heartburn sufferers‘ complaints who allege the medication caused chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury, acute interstitial nephritis, renal failure, and kidney failure.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a reaction to the studies and mounting complaints released a public warning. This triggered many of the PPI lawsuits to be filed against AstrZeneca, Prilosec’s manufacturer. Diarrhea and bone fracture, along with other PPI side effects appear in the official FDA medication guide revised in December 2015, for lansoprazole (Prevacid), but there appears to be no mention of kidney dysfunction.