Contact A Lawyer
Have A Potential Case Reviewed By An Attorney
AstraZeneca has failed to adequately warn consumers and the medical community about the risk of kidney problems from Nexium, according to allegations raised in a recent product liability lawsuit over the popular heartburn treatment.
The complaint (PDF) filed by Andranette Tate in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on June 26, indicating that side effects of Nexium caused her to develop stage III chronic kidney disease.
Tate indicates that she began using Nexium in November 2010, to treat peptic disorders, including gastroesophageal disease (GERD) and duodenal ulcer disease. However, in September 2013, Tate was diagnosed with severe, drug-induced chronic kidney disease (CKD).
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.
Since AstraZeneca has promoted their medication as safe and effective, and it is widely assumed to carry few serious side effects, many individuals remain on Nexium long-term, using the drug for years without any attempt to reduce reliance on the medication. However, following the publication of several studies in recent years, serious concerns have emerged about risks that users may be more likely to experience severe and potentially life-threatening kidney problems.
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.
“Defendants have totally failed to provide any warnings regarding [chronic kidney disease],” the lawsuit states. “In omitting, concealing, and inadequately providing critical safety information regarding the use of Nexium in order to induce its purchase and use, Defendants engaged in and continue to engage in conduct likely to mislead consumers including Plaintiff. This conduct is fraudulent, unfair, and unlawful.”
The case joins a growing number of Nexium lawsuits filed in recent months, as well as other Prilosec lawsuits, Protonix lawsuits, Prevacid lawsuits and Dexilant lawsuits filed against makers of these similar proton pump inhibitors.
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. However, a second request was filed last week, indicating that the size of the litigation has continued to grow, now including at least 172 cases spread across 30 different U.S. District Courts.
The U.S. JPML is scheduled to reconsider whether to centralize cases filed by Perilloux and other plaintiffs during an upcoming hearing session scheduled for July 27, in Los Angeles, California.