Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuit Attorneys
Heartburn can produce symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, as well as tightness, pain or burning of the throat or chest, regurgitation of food, and increased pain while lying down. The symptoms can become severe enough to interfere with people’s lives, which is when they then turn to a physician or over-the-counter medication for relief.
Proton pump inhibitors have been shown to be effective in reducing or preventing heartburn symptoms because they inhibit the proton pump’s production of acid. Without the excess acid, patients’ gastric issues subside.
PPIs are not intended to be daily, long-term-use drugs. PPIs are supposed to be taken during a temporary and short period of time (about 14 to 30 days) and withdrawn to see if the gastric symptoms have been remedied without need for continued medication. When taken daily and throughout the course of many years, PPIs can cause serious, permanent side effects. If this has happened to you, the experienced attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP can help.
Why Do People Take PPIs?
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a class of drugs used to treat various gastric issues, the most of common of which is heartburn. PPIs are indicated for treatment of the following medical conditions:
- Acid reflux
- Chronic or occasional heartburn
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Barrett’s esophagus (an esophageal cell condition that can lead to cancer)
- Gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach)
- Erosive esophagitis (esophageal tissue damage due to acid buildup)
- Esophageal reflux disease
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus due to an allergic reaction)
- Peptic ulcer disease
The majority of people taking a daily PPI do so to prevent the painful symptoms of heartburn following a meal. After you eat, your stomach produces acid to aid the process of digestion. The acid is produced in a specific area, known as the “proton pump” or acid pump. Though the acid is beneficial for properly digesting food, it is also extremely powerful and corrosive. If you produce too much stomach acid, it can erode the lining of your stomach, cause painful ulcers, and creep up into the throat. Most people experience the effects of excess stomach acid as heartburn.
What Is the Problem With Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)?
PPIs are meant to be taken for only one to two weeks at a time, but often, people take them for much longer than that. Long-term use of PPIs has been associated with a host of negative side effects, including kidney disease.
What Injuries Can PPIs Cause?
When taken daily and throughout the course of many years, PPIs can cause serious, permanent side effects. In our experience litigating PPI cases, we have had clients report the following injuries:
- Kidney Injury: A sudden injury to the kidney that results in reduced kidney function. This can be characterized by fatigue, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, swelling in the legs and feet, muscle cramps, and reduced urine output.
- Acute Interstitial Nephritis (AIN): An abrupt deterioration in kidney function due to inflammation and edema of the renal interstitium. AIN can cause decreased urinary output, fever, blood in the urine, confusion, fatigue, vomiting, rash, changes in blood pressure, and swelling in the legs and feet.
- Chronic Kidney Disease: A persistent impairment of the kidneys that leads to kidney failure. Chronic kidney disease is characterized by many of the same symptoms as kidney injuries and AIN and is usually diagnosed in stages ranging from 1 to 5. Stage 5 chronic kidney disease is essentially kidney failure.
- End-Stage Renal Disease: Ongoing reduced kidney function such that the patient requires a kidney transplant or dialysis to survive.
- Renal Failure: Complete impairment of the kidneys such that the patient requires frequent (sometimes daily) dialysis to survive and will most likely need an immediate kidney transplant.
- Pancreatic Cancer: As with many cancers, the precise cause of pancreatic cancer remains unclear, but recent studies show a correlation between PPI use and the development of pancreatic conditions, including pancreatic cancer.
In addition to the damages that PPIs can inflict on adults, PPIs have also been linked to infectious bacterial diseases in children when paired with antibiotic treatments, sometimes resulting in death.
Zantac and Cancer: Deadly Contamination
On top of all of these potentially troubling effects, in late 2019, the FDA found that a cancer-causing agent called n-nitroso dimethylamine, or NDMA, was present in Zantac (ranitidine), another type of medication commonly used to reduce stomach acid. Some manufacturers suspended sales of ranitidine, and drugstores pulled it from their shelves. In April 2020, the FDA ordered a recall of Zantac, but for some people, the damage may have already been done. For those victims of this defective drug, their only recourse may be to consult a lawyer.
Difficulties of Diagnosing Kidney Injury Before It’s Too Late
Your kidneys are absolutely vital to healthy physical function, as they filter out chemicals and waste from your body. PPIs can damage your kidneys, leaving them unable to expel harmful materials from your body. In cases of kidney injury and AIN, patients’ problems generally resolve after withdrawing their PPIs. However, because many of the symptoms are so vague and mimic other commonplace issues like the flu, dehydration, and side effects of stress, it can be extremely difficult to get a diagnosis. The most effective way to diagnose these conditions is through blood tests and biopsies that will show changes in your creatinine levels and damage to the kidneys. Biopsies are quite invasive, though, so many doctors opt for more conservative approaches if they are clued in to the decrease in kidney function at all.
Both kidney injury and AIN can lead to chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, renal failure, and the need for dialysis and transplant. Once kidney damage has advanced to a certain point, withdrawing the PPI is not enough. The patient at that point is faced with a lifelong medical complication and the potential for surgeries and even death.
Study Finds Overuse of Medications in Elderly
One recent study found that as many one-third or more of Americans over the age of 65 may be taking medications for far longer than is necessary. Rather than taking these proton pump inhibitor drugs for a fixed duration (eight weeks being the most common course of treatment), many older Americans studied were taking these drugs for longer, putting their health at greater risk.
The 2018 study, reported on in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, looked at nearly 9,000 Americans over the age of 65 who had been prescribed a proton pump inhibitor. Researchers discovered that while many people in the group started out using PPIs in an appropriate way, by the end of the study, more than 35 percent of individuals were still being prescribed these medications despite the fact that they were no longer necessary or appropriate to continue taking. This is particularly problematic given that the elderly can experience infections and other serious health consequences from taking proton pump inhibitors for too long.
Who’s to Blame? Patients or Doctors?
Patients may forget how long they have been taking the drugs or may not realize that they may not need to take the drugs indefinitely. Similarly, doctors’ records may not be sufficiently complete or up-to-date to recognize when a patient has taken such drugs for too long of a period. Improvements in both patient education, medical recording practices, and medical care can all help in reducing the incidence of these drugs being over-prescribed and overused.
Prescription Marketing and the Emergence of Over-the-Counter Options
Why are so many people taking these drugs every day for years and years if the drugs are this dangerous? The answer is intense marketing, accessibility, and a failure by PPI manufacturers to warn doctors and consumers about the risks of taking these drugs.
The first PPI to be approved for sale was Prilosec (manufactured by AstraZeneca) in 1989. Prilosec and its early competitors were initially available only by prescription, but the manufacturers strongly pushed their drugs into the hands of doctors and thereby consumers. Seeing an enormous potential in the market, AstraZeneca was also the first to gain approval for an over-the-counter alternative to prescription Prilosec, through a partnership with Procter & Gamble. The FDA approved Prilosec OTC (omeprazole magnesium) in June 2003.
The early 2000s saw a swift and aggressive flood of PPI consumer advertising, all touting the ease and convenience of picking up your favorite heartburn preventative in the same place you buy groceries. But a huge problem with this is that when manufacturers eliminate physician oversight, people can misdiagnose themselves, grab the wrong medication off the store shelf, and take that medication too often and for too long. Studies suggest that potentially 70 percent of people taking a PPI do not have an appropriate reason for doing so, and a significant percentage of the people taking PPIs are taking them for far too long. Most people should only take these medications for about two weeks, but due to how they’re marketed, people are using them for years or sometimes decades, which puts them at great risk of serious side effects. Moreover, almost none of the prescriptions’ side effects and warnings appear on the over-the-counter boxes.
Frequently Asked Questions About PPIs, Kidney Injuries, and Your Legal Rights
In handling PPI cases, we have found that our clients usually have a lot of questions when they sign up. Product liability litigation can be confusing, and we want to make sure all of your questions are answered. We’re committed to providing you accurate, up-to-date information not only on your own case but also on the status of the PPI litigation as a whole.
What Are the Brand Names of PPIs?
Common proton pump inhibitors include:
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Protonix (pantoprazole)
- Zegerid (omeprazole)
- Aciphex (rabeprazole)
- Dexilant (dexlansoprazole)
As you can see, all of the chemical names for these PPIs end in the suffix “-prazole,” which makes them easier to identify.
How Do PPIs Work?
The majority of people taking a PPI do so to prevent the painful symptoms of heartburn following a meal. Your stomach produces acid to aid the process of digestion after you eat, and this acid is produced in a chemical process known as the gastric proton pump. Though the acid helps your body properly digest food, it is also extremely powerful and corrosive. If you produce too much stomach acid, it can erode the lining of your stomach, cause painful ulcers, and creep up into the throat. Most people experience heartburn related to this excess acid.
Heartburn can produce symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, tightness of the throat or chest, pain and burning in the chest and throat, regurgitation of food, and increased pain while lying down. The symptoms can become severe enough to interfere with people’s lives, and they then turn to a physician or over-the-counter medication for relief. PPIs have been shown to be effective in reducing or preventing heartburn symptoms because they inhibit the proton pump’s production of acid. Without the excess acid, patients’ gastric issues subside.
What Are Some of the Side Effects of Omeprazole?
Common side effects of omeprazole and other PPIs include:
- Abdominal pain
- Acid reflux
- Upper respiratory infection
Is There a Lawsuit Against Omeprazole?
There’s at least one major class-action lawsuit against Prilosec (omeprazole) already pending, which also involves the makers of numerous other PPIs. However, this does not prevent you from filing your own omezprazole side effects lawsuit; individual actions against omeprazole manufacturers are being filed nationwide.
Does Omeprazole Contain NDMA?
No. The FDA has done testing on omeprazole and similar PPI treatments and has found that there is no NDMA in any of those products.
Is There a Lawsuit Against Pantoprazole?
Protonix (pantoprazole) is one of the PPIs cited in MDL 2789, the largest class-action Protonix lawsuit. But if you have taken any PPI and suffered injury as a result, including Protonix, a lawyer with our firm can help you seek justice through a group or individual action.
Where Are PPI Lawsuits Being Filed?
Because so many PPI cases are pending and so many manufacturers are involved, many PPI cases have been centralized in one court, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, in what is called a multidistrict litigation (MDL). However, individual lawsuits against PPI manufacturers continue to be filed in courts all across the country.
Can I File a Proton Pump Inhibitor Heart Attack Lawsuit?
Yes: Some research has shown that as well as kidney damage, PPIs are linked to an increased risk of heart attack and heart disease in those taking these medications for an extended period of time. If you have had a heart attack after taking a PPI, you may have grounds for a legal claim.
I Took Several Different PPIs, and I Don’t Remember All of Them: Does That Matter?
PPI litigation is unique in the sense that many plaintiffs will have taken multiple brands and switched from prescription PPIs to over-the-counter PPIs. Given the likelihood of switching while trying to find the drug that works best, we expect that our PPI clients will often come to us not knowing for sure what they took and when they took it. But in order to file a lawsuit against a particular manufacturer, we have to be able to present evidence that you used that manufacturer’s product.
That said, you don’t need to worry if you don’t remember the names of all of your medications. We will do that investigation for you. When you choose Parker Waichman for your proton pump inhibitors lawsuit, we will order your pharmacy records right away to determine what PPI brands you took and who manufactured them. Even if your records do not show the exact name of the drug, we can track down national drug codes (NDCs) from your pharmacies to prove what medications you took and when. And though it is difficult to trace over-the-counter purchases, we will do everything we can to identify the PPIs you used and build a viable case against the right manufacturers.
Has the FDA Recalled Any PPIs?
The FDA has not recalled any PPI drugs to date, though it did recall Zantac, another type of heartburn medication. The FDA has issued several warnings about PPIs, but these are unrelated to the kidney injuries and pancreatic cancer that are the subjects of the current PPI litigation.
Why Do Doctors Continue to Prescribe PPIs if They’re Dangerous?
There’s not a simple answer to this question, but we know that a large reason physicians started to and continue to prescribe proton pump inhibitors to their patients is rooted in the information disseminated to them by the manufacturers.
Believe it or not, a huge portion of the information doctors know about a drug comes directly from the manufacturer. When new drugs come on the market, it is the manufacturer’s job to get them into the hands of consumers. The only way to do that is through doctors (unless you come up with an over-the-counter option, too). As sales representatives are trying to make sales, they often do not share the whole truth. And if risk information is not even in the drug labeling, doctors have no way of knowing about it and providing that information to patients.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive From a PPI Lawsuit?
The attorneys at Parker Waichman are committed to helping you receive appropriate compensation for your PPI injuries. By filing a claim against the manufacturer of the PPI you took, you can recover compensation for all of the ways your injury has affected your life. This includes:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future lost wages
- Loss of consortium (a special claim to collect for the ways your injuries have affected your marriage)
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
When you hire our firm, we will do everything we can to maximize your recovery by working with you to understand the full extent of your injuries. We will add up your medical bills and obtain tax returns and W2s to show the income you have lost and make sure we understand exactly how your PPI injuries interfere with your life every day. If found liable, the drug manufacturer needs to pay you for every way you have been affected.
Am I Eligible to File a Lawsuit?
The only way to find out whether you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a PPI is to retain a skilled drug product lawyer to investigate your potential case. Though the PPI litigation is far-reaching, there is a set of basic criteria a case must meet before it can move forward.
At Parker Waichman, we know how important it is for you to have an answer as to your potential case quickly. When you hire our accomplished legal team, we will immediately begin the process of reviewing your claim to determine the next possible steps.
Our case investigation will begin by performing the following tasks on your behalf:
- Obtaining a detailed account of your PPI use history and the injuries you suffered while taking the drug or after you stopped taking the drug;
- Ordering pharmacy records or medical records that document your use of a PPI and identify who manufactured the PPI you took (which we call establishing “proof of use”);
- Ordering records documenting your PPI injury diagnoses and the treatment you received related to your PPI injuries;
- Identifying the governing statute of limitations for your claim (the state-determined time during which you must file your lawsuit);
If this preliminary investigation determines you have a viable claim, we will move to the next phases of your claim, which will include all of the following:
- Consulting with medical experts and industry experts to obtain support for your claim;
- Determining where your case should be filed (whether in Multidistrict Litigation or elsewhere);
- Drafting and preparing a petition for filing;
- Completing written discovery or Plaintiff Profile Forms/Plaintiff Fact Sheets;
- Reviewing electronic and written discovery from the defendants;
- Conducting or reviewing depositions;
- Participating in court hearings;
- Meeting court-ordered deadlines;
- Exchanging records with the defendants;
- Participating in potential settlement negotiations; and
- Carrying out any possible settlement program applicable to your claim.
When you work with the dedicated attorneys at Parker Waichman, you will always be kept in the loop on the progress of your case and the progress of the general PPI litigation. We want to make sure you always understand what is going on and feel confident about where your case is headed. Our team will be by your side the whole way, and we will work together toward the best possible resolution for you and your family.
Building a successful drug product case takes time and hard work, and it is never too early to start. If you think you might have a PPI case, contact Parker Waichman today.
How Long Will My PPI Case Take?
It’s impossible to know exactly how long any given PPI lawsuit will take, as the details of every case will vary, as will the court calendar and other factors that can influence the length of a case. Sometimes, a personal injury case can be resolved in a year or two, but more complex cases or ones involving multi-district litigation can move much more slowly.
Throughout the entire time your case is pending, we will always do our best to keep you updated on the litigation’s progress. And we are always a phone call or email away: Any time you have questions about how your case is going, we are happy to answer them.
Choose Experienced Proton Pump Inhibitor Injury Class-Action Lawyers
Use of proton pump inhibitor medications, among the most common heartburn drugs, can lead to devastating injuries, including damage to the kidneys, complete loss of kidney function, and pancreatic cancer. Some proton pump inhibitor side effects will require invasive and ongoing medical treatment, and some can even lead to death. It seems unthinkable that simple tablets you can buy at the grocery store could be so dangerous, but many people have been permanently injured by these drugs. At Parker Waichman, we recognize the ways your PPI injuries have affected your life, and we understand how betrayed you feel by the pharmaceutical industry. You deserve justice, and we can help you achieve it.
When you have a claim against a billion-dollar pharmaceutical corporation, you need a skilled product liability law firm on your side. Particularly with a proton pump inhibitor claim, where you are potentially suing one or more giant pharmaceutical manufacturers, the system can be intimidating, but our attorneys have extensive experience taking on the biggest corporations and tackling the most complex cases. When you choose Parker Waichman, you can rest assured that we have the resources to bring you the justice you deserve.
In our years of litigating personal injury and product liability cases, we have received numerous accolades and honors from fellow attorneys, defense lawyers, judges, and current and former clients. We are extremely proud of the reputation we have earned inside and outside of the legal community, including our 9.8 out of 10 rating from AVVO, which rates every attorney in the United States, as well as our listing in Best Lawyers and our “AV Preeminent” peer-review rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest on their scale. But we’re even more proud of our near-unprecedented results for our clients, including more than $2 billion in settlements and verdicts.
Get Skilled Representation
With No Out-of-Pocket Costs
We understand that when you’re dealing with a potentially life-threatening PPI drug injury, you likely already have a financial strain in your life due to costly medical bills. That’s one of the reasons we offer consultations at no cost to you. The initial case evaluation is completely free, and we will investigate your claim with zero money up front. If our investigation concludes that we cannot pursue a claim for you, you will never receive a bill from us.
If we decide we can move forward with your case, we will advance the costs of any claim we pursue on your behalf. We recognize that the average person can’t afford to finance a product liability lawsuit, so we assume that financial risk and contract cases on a contingency-fee basis. What this means is that we only get paid if you get paid. If you do not receive an award from your lawsuit, you will not owe us a penny.
The attorneys and staff at Parker Waichman know you are working with us during a trying time, and we will be by your side through every step of your proton pump inhibitors lawsuit. We know that when you sign your case with us, you are placing your trust in us, and we take that very seriously. We’ll work tirelessly to get results for you and ease the burden placed on you and your family by these dangerous drugs. Together, we can hold drug manufacturers accountable for the injuries they cause and help prevent the same from happening to others.
If you or a loved one took a proton pump inhibitor and developed a kidney injury, kidney failure or pancreatic cancer, speak with one of our caring and experienced PPI lawsuit attorneys today by filling out our online form or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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