Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are anti-acid medications used to treat Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD) and other stomach conditions. The medications are available in both prescription and over-the-counter forms and may have been overused and may have caused serious injuries such as kidney failure and bone fractures.

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Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) have been in use since the first PPI, omeprazole (Prilosec) was approved in 1988. Since the first medication, the category has exploded with over nine separate PPIs, some of which are now approved for over-the-counter use without a prescription. Since 2002, there has been some question about the safety of the medications and now the medical journal PLOS-One, has reported that PPI use may be linked to heart attack in patients who use the medications.

About Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton Pump Inhibitors work to treat a number of gastrointestinal conditions caused by too much acid. They are largely used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) but may also be used to treat gastric or peptic ulcer disease (PUD) along with a number of additional conditions.

PPI’s work differently from other “antacid” medications but stopping “proton pumps” in the stomach from releasing acid that is normally needed to digest food.

The medications were first approved in Europe in 1988 with omeprazole (Losec, Prilosec) which was followed with additional PPIs including Nexium and Prevacid which was the second-best selling drug in 2013 with estimated revenue of $5.8 billion. The total PPI market is said to be worth $8.5 billion, annually in the U.S and PPI medications are estimated to have been prescribed to at least 14 percent of the U.S. adult population, according to the FDA.

No action has been taken yet about the reported link between PPI use and heart attacks by the FDA or PPI manufacturers.

Proton Pump Inhibitors and Kidney Failure

Recently, the medical journal PLOS One reported that two separate studies have shown an increase in the risk of heart attack in patients who take PPIs. The studies, conducted at Houston Methodist Research Institute and Stanford University examined medical records of 2.9 million patients who had taken popular PPI medications such as Nexium (esomeprazole) and Prevacid (lansoprazole).

The studies compared PPI use with other antacid treatments such as the H2 receptor antagonists like Zantac (ranitidine) and Axid (nizatidine), along with patients who were not taking antacid medication and showed that patients who take PPI medications may have up to a 21 percent increase in the chance of heart attack.

Previous investigations of PPI use related to heart attack have concentrated on patients who used a popular anticoagulant (Plavix or clopidogrel) but this is the first time PPI use alone has been considered. Researchers indicated that the results were concerning as it was the first time cardiac effects were shown to be related to PPI use in the “general” public and not in patients who were already ill.

Heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, is caused by a blockage of blood vessels leading to the heart. It has symptoms including:

  • Sudden pain in chest, back, arm, shoulder or jaw on one or both sides
  • Sudden pressure in the chest
  • Sudden anxiety
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Sweating with cold, clammy skin

Any symptoms of heart attack should be treated as a medical emergency.

Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuit

Patients who have experienced heart attack or other serious side effects of PPI use including bone fracture, birth defects or symptoms related to low magnesium levels may be eligible for compensation for their injuries. Settlements may include monetary award to reimburse patients for medical costs, loss of work and pain and suffering. Family members of patients who died as a result of PPI use may be eligible for wrongful death compensation.

In other cases against drug manufacturers, plaintiffs have claimed that the companies:

  • Manufactured a dangerous or defective drug
  • Failed to adequately warn about risks of using the drug
  • Improperly marketed the medication
  • Hid or concealed knowledge about dangers of medication use

Many drug injury lawsuits result in settlements, but some do not.  Each case of medical injury that is potentially caused by medication use must be considered separately. If you or a loved one experienced a heart attack or other serious injury after PPI use, you should have your case evaluated by a legal expert. Learn more about proton pump inhibitor lawsuits here.

Getting the Help You Need

Seeger Weiss LLP is offering free consultations for anyone who may have suffered a heart attack after taking Proton Pump Inhibitors. You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, present and future medical care, and other losses stemming from your injuries. For more information please fill out the free evaluation form above or call us directly at 888-565-2115.

Notwithstanding claims relating to this product, the drug/medical device remains approved by the U.S. FDA. 

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