Nexium Long-Term use Resulted in Chronic Kidney Disease and Acute Kidney Injury, Lawsuit Alleges

The long-term use of Nexium allegedly caused a Louisiana man to develop chronic kidney disease (CKD) and an acute kidney injury, according to allegations raised in a lawsuit filed against the drug makers for failing to warn about the risks associated with the popular heartburn drug.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Terry Bernard in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on May 15, indicating that he never would have agreed to use the medication if AstraZeneca had provided proper warnings about the kidney risks with Nexium.

Bernard used Nexium as prescribed by his doctor from 2009 to 2015, prior to any warnings being provided for consumers and physicians about the impact long-term use of the medication may have on the kidneys.

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Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuits

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“Defendants, at all relevant times, knew or should have known of the risks and defects with Nexium products, however Defendants concealed their knowledge of Nexium’s risks and defects and failed to notify Plaintiff, the FDA, the public and the medical community, including Plaintiff’s prescribing physicians,” according to the lawsuit. “Defendants undertook such action with the intent of defrauding and deceiving the public and the medical community at large.”

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.

Since AstraZeneca has promoted their medication as safe and effective, and it is widely believed 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, 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.

Bernard claims that AstraZeneca knew or should have known about the risks of kidney failure and kidney disease for years, but failed to warn the medical community and misled the public.

“Despite clear knowledge that Nexium causes a signficantly increased risk of [chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury] and other renal impairment, Defendants continue to market and sell Nexium without warning consumers or healthcare providers of the significant risks to the kidney,” Bernard indicates in the lawsuit. “Plaintiff would not have used Nexium had he been properly warned of the kidney risks associated with its ingestion.”

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. Therefore, the lawsuit filed by Bernard, 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.


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