Lawsuit Filed Over Fractures After Using Nexium and Other Heartburn Drugs

An Arizona woman has filed a product liability lawsuit against the makers of several popular heartburn drugs, including Nexium, Protonix, Prevacid, Prilosec and Aciphex, alleging that use of the medications caused her to suffer multiple bone fractures. 

The complaint was filed earlier this month by Rebecca Smith-Lee in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It names a number of drug manufacturers as defendants, including Astrazeneca, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Novartis, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, as well as McKesson Corporation, which distributes the drugs in Arizona and California.

Smith-Lee indicates that she took the various different heartburn drugs from 2007 through 2010. In December 2009, she experienced multiple fractures in her right foot, which required surgery. A month later, she suffered multiple fractures in her left foot.

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According to the allegations raised in the lawsuit over the fractures, the manufacturers of Nexium, Protonix, Prevacid, Prilosec and Aciphex have known for years that the drugs could weaken bones, but failed to adequately warn doctors and consumers.

All of the drugs Smith-Lee used are part of a class of medications known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). A number of similar bone fracture lawsuits over Nexium and other heartburn drugs have been filed in courts throughout the United States, but most did not involve the use of this many different types of proton pump inhibitors.

In May 2010, the FDA warned that there may be an increased risk of bone fractures from Nexium and the other PPI medications.

That warning was updated by the FDA in March 2011, indicating that the risk of broken bones from Nexium appears to be linked to high doses of the medication used over long periods of time. Over-the-counter versions of the drugs did not appear to be affected, according to the federal drug regulators.

Public Citizen, a prominent consumer advocate group, has called for black box label warnings to be added to all PPIs, alerting people that the drugs have been linked to bone breaks and can cause consumers to develop a dependency on the drugs. 

Smith-Lee charges the manufacturers with negligence, designing and manufacturing a defective product, failure to warn, breach of warranty and fraud. She is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.

4 Comments

  • williamMay 7, 2012 at 1:30 am

    ive been on prilosic, prevacid and nexium for years

  • AllyFebruary 1, 2012 at 3:05 am

    I have been on nexium, protonix, aciphex, prilosec, prevacid, and now omeprazole because my insurance company slowly started declining the others. I had heartburn, gerd, and now a hiatel hernia and was just diagnosed with barrets esophogas even after watching my diet and taking the medication. I was shocked to read the bone fracture and osteoperosis info because I have had feet problems too, diagn[Show More]I have been on nexium, protonix, aciphex, prilosec, prevacid, and now omeprazole because my insurance company slowly started declining the others. I had heartburn, gerd, and now a hiatel hernia and was just diagnosed with barrets esophogas even after watching my diet and taking the medication. I was shocked to read the bone fracture and osteoperosis info because I have had feet problems too, diagnosed with a hairline fracture in my left and right foot and it is painful to walk. I thought it was due to toning shoes and stopped wearing them but it is still painful. Now I am wondering if it is due to this medication. I have been on it since 2007.,

  • anikaJanuary 9, 2012 at 7:34 am

    all I know is I've had gall stones which caused me to have my gall bladder removed my bones always ache and I have a child born with a heart murmur and three kids that start taking the meds pretty young and they all have joint problems and bones that have been out of commission.

  • ChrisDecember 29, 2011 at 4:34 am

    I was on prevacid for 6 years and iI developed an advanced stage of Osteroperosis at the age of 35. I found that out after falling down three stairs and breaking both ankles in multiple places. I was wheel chair bound for 5 monthes.

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