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According to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed against AstraZeneca, side effects of Nexium caused a Pennsylvania man to develop stage three chronic kidney disease (CKD).
In a complaint (PDF) filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on November 21, James Marzec indicates that the drug makers failed to adequately warn consumers and the medical community about the link between Nexium and kidney damage that may result in permanent and life-threatening injuries.
Marzec indicates that he was prescribed Nexium on numerous occasions starting in 2012, and used it consistently through 2013. Although Marzec indicates that AstraZeneca represented that their popular heartburn drug had been tested and found to be safe, he indicates that side effects left him with a serious case of kidney disease.
Nexium (esomeprazole) is one of the most recognized brand-name medications on the market in the United States, prescribed to millions of Americans for treatment of heartburn and acid reflux. It is part of a larger class of medications, known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which also includes the blockbuster treatments Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid, Dexilant and others.
In recent years, several studies have raised serious concerns about the kidney risks with Nexium and other PPI medications, raising questions about why AstraZeneca and other drug makers withheld important safety warnings.
“Recent studies have shown the long term use of PPI’s was independently associated with a 20% to 50% higher risk of CKD, after adjusting for several potential confounding variables, including demographics, socioeconomic status, clinical measurements, prevalent co-morbidities, and concomitant use of medications,” the lawsuit states. “Currently, the Nexium product labeling does not contain any warning regarding the increased risk of CKD.”
In an independent study published by the medical journal CMAJ Open in April 2015, researchers found that users of PPI medications were three times more likely to suffer acute interstitial nephritis, which involves inflammation of the kidney. In addition, the study found that users were 2.5 times more likely to develop acute kidney injury, which involves an abrupt loss of kidney function.
This research was followed by a study published last year in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, which also found an increased risk of chronic kidney disease with the heartburn medications, indicating that users of Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI may be 50% more likely when compared to non-users.
In April 2016, researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs found that users of Nexium, Prilosec or other PPIs may be 96% more likely to develop renal failure and 28% more likely to develop chronic kidney disease after five years of use.
The case filed by Marzec joins a growing number of other Nexium lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits, Protonix lawsuits, Prevacid lawsuits and Dexilant lawsuits brought by individuals nationwide in recent months, each raising similar allegations that the drug makers withheld information about the risks associated with long-term use of the medications.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in the cases brought throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued an order earlier this month, consolidating all heartburn kidney lawsuits before one judge in New Jersey federal court for pretrial proceedings.
As heartburn drug injury lawyers continue to review and file cases in the coming months and years, it is expected that hundreds, if not thousands, of similar acute interstitial nephritis lawsuits may be filed over the failure to warn about the side effects of Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI medications.