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According to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed this week against Takeda Pharmaceuticals, side effects of Prevacid caused an Arizona man to suffer kidney disease and other kidney injuries, joining a growing number of claims presented in recent months against the makers of popular proton pump inhibitor (PPI) heartburn drugs.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Danny Davis in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on December 20, indicating that Takeda failed to warn users and the medical community about the risk that Prevacid may cause serious kidney injuries, chronic kidney disease and renal failure.
Davis indicates that he used Prevacid from May 2005 through May 2012, and now suffers from renal disease and other kidney-related injuries that he attributes to side effects the proton pump inhibitor.
Concerns about the risk of kidney damage from Prevacid and other PPI drugs, including blockbuster treatments Nexium, Prilosec and others, have emerged over the past year, following several studies that have suggested users may be more likely to develop acute interstitial nephritis (AIN), acute kidney injury (AKI), chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney failure following long-term use of the medications.
Prevacid, Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI medications are among the most widely used drugs in the United States, generating billions in revenue each year. Since the heartburn drugs are widely believed to be safe, many individuals remain on the medications for years with little attempt to reduce the need for the drugs. However, a growing number of health experts are now raising concerns about the wide-spread over use of the drugs.
Kidney Disease Risks
The first warnings about any kidney issues with PPIs were added to the drug labels in December 2014, indicating that there may be a risk of acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) risk from Prevacid, Nexium, Prilosec and other similar drugs. This condition involves inflammation of the kidneys, but 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 Prevacid, Prilosec, and other PPIs 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 Prevacid, 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.
Davis presents claims of violations of Arizona trade practices and consumer protection laws, product liability, negligence, failure to warn, negligent misrepresentation, breach of warranty, and fraudulent misrepresentation. He seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.
Given the similar questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, a motion has been filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to centralize and consolidate the claims before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of witnesses, parties and the judicial system.
As heartburn drug kidney injury lawyers continue to review and file cases over the next year, it is widely expected that several thousand lawsuits will be brought in courts nationwide.