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A Kentucky man indicates that he has been left with chronic kidney disease due to the side effects of Nexium, alleging that the manufacturer of the popular heartburn drug failed to adequately study the health risks or warn that users may be left with serious kidney problems.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by James Peterson in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on May 2, indicating that AstraZeneca concealed critical safety information about their blockbuster medication, and misled consumers and the medical community.
Peterson was prescribed Nexium several times from 2008 to 2010, and indicates that he was subsequently diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, due to the failure to warn about the link between Nexium and kidney problems, Peterson indicates that he was unaware that the medication may have been the cause of his injury at the time.
“Studies have shown the long term use of PPIs 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. In at least one study, the use of PPIs for any period of time, was shown to increase the risk of CKD by 10%,” Peterson’s lawsuit notes. ” Currently, the Nexium product labeling does not contain any warning regarding the increased risk of CKD.”
Nexium is one of the most recognized brand-name medications on the market in the United States, used by millions of Americans for treatment of heartburn and acid reflux. It is part of a larger class of medications, known as proton pump inhibitors, which also includes the treatments Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid, Dexilant and others.
In an independent study published by the medical journal CMAJ Open in April 2015, researchers found that users of PPI medications were 3 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.
Since the publication of these independent studies, a growing number of product liability lawsuits have been filed by individuals left with kidney disease from Nexium, as well as Prilosec lawsuits, Protonix lawsuits, Prevacid lawsuits and Dexilant lawsuits, each raising similar allegations that users were not adequately warned about the impact the medications may have on their kidneys.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation rejected a request to consolidate all federal proton pump inhibitor kidney damage lawsuits before one judge for pretrial proceedings, saying that there were too many different competing drug makers involved in the cases to justify coordinated discovery at this time. Therefore, the lawsuit filed by Peterson, as well as other cases filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide, are moving forward as individual claims, without coordinated discovery.
As heartburn drug injury lawyers continue to review and file cases, it is expected that several thousand of similar chronic kidney disease lawsuits and other claims over side effects of PPI medications could be filed in the coming months.