If you or a loved one have suffered kidney failure or were diagnosed with chronic kidney disease after taking prescription or over-the-counter formulations of brand-name Nexium, you may be eligible for financial compensation.
Nexium Chronic Kidney Disease Lawsuit
Nexium, a popular proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medication used reduce excess stomach acid, has been shown to increase the risk of chronic kidney disease. People who have developed CKD or other serious medical conditions after taking Nexium may be eligible for financial compensation through a Nexium Lawsuit.
The February 2016 issue of JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association, included publication of new study results which showed a 20 to 50 percent increased risk of chronic kidney disease in patients taking Nexium (esomeprazole) and similar medications. The study examined medical records of over ten thousand patients taking Proton Pump Inhibitors like Nexium, who were followed for an average of more than 13 years and showed that the longer the drugs were taken, the greater the risk.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) including Nexium and its “parent” drug, Prilosec, have also been shown to increase the risk of heart attack, bone fracture and hypomagnesemia or low magnesium levels. PPIs are also suspected of causing other serious conditions such as acute kidney injury. birth defects, and acquired infections. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer of Nexium and many more are expected.
When a patient has suffered medical injury due to the actions of a medication, he or she may be eligible for compensation. In the past, manufacturers have been held responsible for the costs of medical treatments, lost wages and pain and suffering. Previous lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of medications that caused harm for:
- Producing a dangerous or defective medication
- Failing to provide adequate warnings of the risks of the medication
- Knowingly hiding dangers of the medication from the public and medical community
- Marketing the medication in an illegal or improper manner
Nexium and other PPI medications have been the subject of investigations relating to harm since 2006. Many patients have filed Nexium lawsuits including hundreds of bone fracture victims in Massachusetts and multiple heart attack victims. Nexium’s manufacturer, AstraZeneca reached a $20 million class action settlement after the plaintiffs claimed that AstraZeneca used deceptive marketing practices to promote the medication.
AstraZeneca also settled price-fixing lawsuits for hundreds of millions of dollars with the states of Arizona, Alabama, Kentucky, and Massachusetts, for overcharging Medicare and Medicaid programs for the medication. In addition, they may also be facing $billions in criminal penalties for illegally paying a generics manufacturer to delay production so that the cost of Nexium would remain high. The PLOS One study results may mean that more patients will file medical injury lawsuits against the manufacturer of Nexium.
Though some lawsuits result in significant financial awards, each case of medical injury must be considered separately and there is no guarantee of success. Patients or family members of victims who have suffered serious side effects after taking Nexium may be eligible for compensation and should have their case evaluated by legal experts.
Nexium is a “second-generation” proton pump inhibitor, said to be an improvement on Prilosec, the first PPI which was introduced in 1988. Nexium and other PPIs work differently than most antacid medications by blocking acid release into the stomach. They are used mainly to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and peptic ulcer disease (PUD), though they may be used for other gastrointestinal disorders as well.
The PPI market, which now includes nine medications and several over-the-counter versions such as Nexium 24HR, is estimated to be worth $8 billion annually and at least 13 percent of American adults have taken the medications in prescription form. In addition, many more may have taken OTC versions.
AstraZeneca, manufacturer of both Nexium and its “parent” drug, Prilosec, has estimated annual revenue of $26 billion and since introduction, Nexium has brought over $50 billion in revenue to the company. For the five years from 2004 to 2009, Nexium was the second most popular prescription in the U.S. and in its peak year 2010, it was the top selling prescription product with $5.3 billion in U.S. sales. Nexium is now available over-the-counter under the brand name Nexium-24 hr.
The recent JAMA article shows that Nexium and other PPI use may increase the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD), by as much as 20 to 50 percent is particularly concerning as study results indicate that the longer a PPI is taken, the more likely the patient is to develop CKD.
Researchers indicate that up to 70 percent of patients may have been given prescriptions for PPIs without a clear medical reason and many have never been taken off the medications even though their conditions may have changed. In addition, Nexium is now available as an over-the-counter medication and many more patients may be taking the medication without a doctor’s advice so the risk may be compounded.
The concern over kidney disease is not the first safety issue that Nexium has faced. In June of 2015, a PLOS One journal article showed that PPIs may increase the risk of heart attack by 16 to 21 percent, even when the patients did not have a prior history of heart disease.
Other safety issues and medical warnings regarding Nexium and the PPI class of medications have included:
- In 2006, the medical journal, JAMA published a study which showed that long term use of PPI medications may increase the risk of hip fractures in the elderly
- A 2009 study based in Copenhagen showed that PPI use may cause a “rebound” acid release if discontinued. This indicates that patients may become “dependent” on the medications.
- In 2010, PPI use was suspected of causing cardiac-related birth defects when taken during pregnancy. The Food and Drug Administration concluded that no statistically significant risk had been shown but Nexium’s parent drug, Prilosec, is listed as Category C for pregnancy, indicating that animal studies have shown evidence of risk.
- In 2010, the FDA issued a consumer warning regarding the risk of bone fracture with Nexium and other PPI use.
- In 2011, the FDA issued an additional warning regarding the risk of the development of low magnesium levels or hypomagnesemia with symptoms of neurological, muscular and cardiac effects, when PPI medications such as Nexium are taken.
Nexium and Chronic Kidney Disease
PPI medications, including Nexium, have been known to increase the risk of acute kidney events in those who already had kidney damage but the new study results show that the risk of kidney disease may be higher than previously thought. The JAMA article indicates that Nexium use may increase the risk of chronic kidney disease, also known as chronic renal failure, even in patients who did not have significant prior kidney damage. The increased risk may be as much as 20 to 50 percent higher with PPI use and the longer or more often Nexium is taken, the greater the risk.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is caused by long-term damage to the kidneys which leaves the kidneys unable to filter metabolic products and toxins from the bloodstream.
It may have symptoms such as:
- Abnormal blood electrolyte levels
- High blood pressure
- Fluid retention or edema
- Fluid collection in the lungs
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of urine production
Chronic kidney failure is not reversible and may warrant additional medical treatments such as dialysis. Any symptoms of kidney failure should be reported to a physician.
Nexium and Heart Attack
Nexium and other PPI medications has also been shown to increase the risk of heart attack by as much as 21 percent in patients with no history of heart disease. The risk may be higher in patients taking certain medications or who have a heart condition.
Heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI) is caused when the heart tissue is suddenly starved of oxygen due to a vessel blockage.
It may have symptoms such as:
- Chest pain or pressure sensation
- Pain in neck, shoulder, arm or abdomen on one or both sides
- Pale or grey pallor to skin
- Nausea or need to defecate
- Sudden anxiety
A heart attack may be life-threatening and should be treated as an emergency.
Other Side Effects of Nexium
Any medication can cause side effects, including Nexium. Most side effects are mild to moderate but some may be more serious and warrant immediate treatment.
Common Nexium side effects may include:
- Joint or muscle pain
- Gastrointestinal issues such as pain, nausea and diarrhea
- Unpleasant aftertaste
More severe or serious adverse events may include:
- Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium level) with neurological, muscular or cardiac symptoms such as seizure, muscle spasms or arrhythmia
- Bone fractures
- Blood test abnormalities
- Birth defects
- Liver toxicity
- Erythema Multiforme, a severe and potentially life-threatening rash
Severe side effects should be reported to a healthcare professional immediately.
Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of PPIs including against AstraZeneca for Prilosec and Nexium. No action has yet been taken by the FDA regarding the kidney failure risk but the new information surrounding chronic kidney disease may mean that additional victims will be filing Nexium lawsuits.
Patients who have experienced chronic kidney failure or other serious side effects such as heart attack after taking Prilosec should consult a legal expert. These patients may be eligible for financial compensation for medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. Family members or loved ones of patients who have died due to Prilosec complications may be eligible for wrongful death compensation.
Filing a Nexium lawsuit has no guarantee of success. Though past medical injury cases have been settled for thousands or even millions of dollars, each case is unique and must be evaluated separately. The manufacturer of Nexium is potentially facing hundreds, or even thousands, of lawsuits for chronic kidney disease and other serious injuries caused by the medication but many more are expected.