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The side effects of Nexium allegedly caused an Ohio man to develop end stage renal disease, according to one of the latest product liability lawsuits filed over the popular heartburn drug, which has recently been linked to an increased risk of kidney damage.
The complaint (PDF) was filed last week by Joey Burnett, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, indicating that AstraZeneca concealed their knowledge about Nexium’s health risks from consumers, doctors and the FDA, providing false and misleading information for years.
Burnett indicates that his kidney began to fail within months of beginning to use Nexium in 2014. He was diagnosed with end stage renal disease on September 18, 2014, which has left him with severe and permanent injuries from Nexium
Like millions of other Nexium users, Burnett began taking the medication to treat peptic disorders. His included gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug induced gastropathy.
Nexium belongs to a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) which includes Prilosec, Prevacid and others. Amid aggressive marketing, the drugs are widely believed to be safe, and many individuals use them with little or no attempt to address the underlying cause of the heartburn or acid reflux. However, in recent years, serious questions have emerged about the safety of Nexium, with several studies suggesting that users may face an increased risk of kidney problems, including acute kidney injury (AKI), chronic kidney disease (CKD) and kidney failure.
Burnett’s case joins a growing number of similar Nexium lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits, Prevacid lawsuits, Protonix lawsuits, Dexilant lawsuits and other claims brought by individuals nationwide, which allege that severe kidney problems may have been avoided if warnings had been provided.
According to the complaint filed by Burnett, AstraZeneca has been receiving case reports of Nexium kidney injuries since 1989, but never warned the medical community or consumers.
“During the period in which Nexium has been sold in the United States, hundreds of reports of injury have been submitted to the FDA in association with ingestion of Nexium and other PPIs,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants have had notice of serious adverse health outcomes through case reports, clinical studies and post-market surveillance.”
The first warnings about any kidney issues with Nexium were added to the drug label in December 2014, indicating that there may be a risk of acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) risk from Nexium, Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors. This condition involves inflammation of the kidneys, but Burnett and other plaintiffs maintain that the warnings do not go far enough to raise awareness about the serious risks associated with these medications.
In April 2015, a study published in the medical journal CMAJ Open found that Nexium and other PPI note only cause a 3 times higher risk of acute interstitial nephritis, but were also associated with a 2.5 times higher risk of acute kidney injury, which involves an abrupt loss of kidney function.
Earlier this year, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine built on these findings, examining data on more than 10,000 participants over a period of more than 10 years, finding that the drugs were also associated with a higher incidence of chronic kidney disease.
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 kidney failure and 28% more likely to develop chronic kidney disease after five years of use.
As heartburn drug injury lawyers continue to review and file cases, it is widely expected that thousands of cases could be filed in the coming months and years.