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A recently filed product liability lawsuit alleges that the combined side effects of Nexium and Dexilant caused a North Carolina woman to develop a case of chronic kidney disease, following long-term use of the popular heartburn drugs.
Sharon Blythe filed the complaint (PDF) in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on December 21, indicating that the drug makers AstraZeneca and Takeda Pharmaceuticals failed to adequately warn consumers and the medical community about the potential kidney risks.
According to the lawsuit, Blythe was prescribed Nexium and Dexilant repeatedly from 2006 through 2014, and the 61 year old was subsequently diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, which was alleges caused by exposure to the medications that are both part of a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that have been linked to similar reports.
Blythe maintains that neither she nor the medical community were provided with adequate information about the risk of chronic kidney disease and other kidney problems associated with Nexium, Dexilant, and other PPIs, which also include popular medications like Prilosec and Prevacid. If she had been warned, Blythe indicates that she would have taken another type of heartburn medication, which does not carry the same risks.
In recent years, several studies have highlighted 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.
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 (AKI), 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 (CKD) 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 negligently represented to the medical and healthcare community, the FDA, to Plaintiff and the public that Nexium and Dexilant had been tested and were found to be safe and/or effective for their indicated use,” Blythe’s lawsuit states. “Defendants, at all relevant times, knew or should have known of the risks and defects with Nexium and Dexilant products, however Defendants concealed their knowledge of Nexium’s and Dexilant’s risks and defects and failed to notify Plaintiff, the FDA, the public and the medical community including Plaintiff’s prescribing physicians of the risks of CKD and AKI.”
Blythe’s case joins a growing number of other Nexium lawsuits, Dexilant lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits, Protonix lawsuits, and Prevacid 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, Dexilant, and other PPI medications.