Nexium, Proton-Pump Inhibitors Linked to Bone Fractures. Long-term use of Proton-pump inhibitors, or PPIs for short, has been shown to weaken bones which ultimately leads to fractures. PPIs are better known by their brand names such as Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec. Physicians prescribe PPIs to combat chronic heartburn but after researchers made the connection between bone fractures and kidney failure from prolonged courses of PPIs, the wisdom of attacking heartburn in this manner must be called into question. The drugs’ manufacturers failed to warn consumers about these possible side effects. As a result, many people have suffered from tremendous pain, prolonged illness, economic damage, and mental anguish from the side effects these large drug manufacturers should have disclosed to the public.
At Parker Waichman LLP, we are dedicated to finding justice for our clients by vigorously pursuing drug manufacturers who injure their consumers. You can rely on Parker Waichman’s experienced drug defect attorneys to thoroughly prepare your claim and fight to win you financial compensation for your injuries as a result of pharmaceutical companies’ failures in designing, manufacturing, and marketing proton-pump inhibitors.
What is a PPI?
PPIs are a class of drug designed to treat chronic or persistent stomach disorders. These disorders range from heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers growing in the stomach or small intestine, and swelling of the esophagus. Approximately 40 percent of all Americans suffer from some variation of GERD. Many of these people seek treatment on a monthly basis. People find relief from these stomach ailments by regularly taking a PPI to prevent acid secretion in the digestive system.
Doctors prescribed Nexium and other PPIs because of their success treating commonplace malaises such as heartburn. Heartburn, according to some physicians, should be treated with antacids like Rolaids or Tums. Now, research demonstrates that persistent heartburn or dyspepsia patients should take antacids rather than PPIs, even over-the-counter PPIs.
The Danger of PPI Overuse
The risks of taking PPIs for an extended period of time substantially outweigh the benefits. PPIs are designed to reduce stomach acid production to 10 percent of the amount typically secreted. While the effectiveness of Nexium shutting down the acid pumps in a person’s digestive tract is apparent, the possible side effects should have been equally evident.
As uncomfortable as stomach ailments relating to acid can be, the acid in the stomach is required for proper absorption of minerals such as calcium. A research study conducted a few years suggested that stomach acid facilitates calcium absorption. Consequently, a reduction — especially a substantial reduction from taking a drug like Nexium — in the volume of stomach acid reduces calcium absorption. Bones weaken and break from a lack of calcium. Furthermore, a decrease in calcium ingestion can lead to osteoporosis as well.
Osteoporosis is a very serious health condition. The name literally means “porous bones.” Osteoporosis causes bones to weaken because the structure of the bones changes from a honeycomb configuration to a less dense and more open composition. The loss of bones density and mass causes people to break bones easily.
People 50 or older are more likely to shows signs of bone loss and degeneration associated with osteoporosis. People afflicted by the condition have been known to experience broken bones while performing some of life’s more mundane tasks. Even sneezing can cause a bone to break if they are weak and brittle enough.
Osteoporosis can be a life-altering condition. Sufferers of osteoporosis have been known to break bones in their hips, wrists, and spine. Furthermore, osteoporosis creates a curvature of the spinal column. People with osteoporosis can be identified readily by their hunched-over or slouching posture.
The spinal deformity substantially reduces a person’s ability to move. Thus, living with osteoporosis can be challenging and isolating. Many victims of osteoporosis, certainly those who are of advanced age, tend to become more isolated and detached from their family and friends. They have difficulty performing routine tasks and feel like they become a burden upon their takers. Those feelings can lead to a clinical diagnosis of depression.
Seniors with osteoporosis can die within a year after falling and breaking a hip. The rehabilitation is taking. Furthermore, the broken bones can only be repaired by a traumatic surgical procedure. Recovery and rehabilitation are lengthy and burdensome requiring long-term rehabilitation stays. That means living away from home for an extended amount of time, which can also take an emotional and psychological toll on a person. At times, it can be too much for a patient, and they succumb to that condition.
In addition to the physical and emotional harm of osteoporosis, the economic cost is extravagant. Researchers predict that osteoporosis will cost more than three million bone breaks will cost $25.3 billion in medical bills, alternate living arrangements, lost revenue and lost work by 2025. Now, physicians attribute two million broken bones to osteoporosis annually at an overall expense of $19 billion.
New FDA Warnings
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings about the potential for bone loss and developing osteoporosis from extended PPI usage on the basis of the various studies which conclusively associated PPIs with bone loss. The data derived from the studies suggest that long-term consumption of PPIs creates an elevated risk of bone fractures and loss of bone density. The findings from one study indicated that people who took PPIs for seven years or longer (which is common) have a risk of bone fractures that is five times greater than the average person. Additionally, the FDA altered the manner in which PPIs should be taken. Instead of taking the drugs for a long time, the FDA now mandates that patients can have three courses of 14 days each. The FDA also recommends that people who experience gastrointestinal discomfort should wean themselves off of PPIs. Abruptly stopping PPI intake can make symptoms much worse than slowly decreasing the strength and frequency of doses.
Bone fractures are not the only potential health risk PPI users could experience. PPIs have been identified as potentially causing kidney disease and increasing risks for C. Difficile infections. As a result, doctors recommend that people try to lose weight and eat healthier than before to help ease stomach problems. PPIs, because of their danger, may soon be the last resort.
Liability of Drug Companies
A perplexing question is why drug manufacturers such as AstraZeneca and Tadeka Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. did not extensively research the possible effects of these drugs. Surely, they knew that stomach acid aids in the absorption of calcium and that reducing stomach acid would ultimately deprive the body of a mineral essential for healthy bones. The reality is that these tremendously wealthy companies have the resources to study the potential side effects of their medicines. The failure to do so infers that they are more interested in protecting their bottom line than protecting their customers.
These companies generate substantial revenue from the sales of PPIs. About 15 million people receive prescriptions for PPIs, and much more take over-the-counter doses. There is more than enough money to perform the necessary research and warn consumers of the dangers associated with taking these medicines.
Suffered Adverse Side Effects from PPIs?
Call Parker Waichman LLP to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your rights if you or someone you love suffered from the adverse effects of PPIs. You can use our online form if it is more convenient than calling. Time is of the utmost importance in filing your claim, and any delay might cause you to lose your rights forever. Therefore, you must call Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) and speak with one of our drug defect attorneys today.