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The findings of a new study raise further concerns about the potential risks associated with Nexium, Prilosec and other popular heartburn drugs, warning that medications part of a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPI) may cause users to experience bone loss, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
Iranian researchers report that they found a significantly increased risk of femur fractures associated with Nexium and other PPIs, warning that the widely used drugs may increase the risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia in femur bones. The findings were published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases late last month.
The study involved 80 patients, 40 of whom used PPIs, and 40 who did not. Researchers looked at both femur and spine bone mineral density, finding that daily users of drugs like Nexium faced much more significant changes in bone mineral density than those who did not use the drugs. They also found that “the frequency of femoral osteoporosis and osteopenia in the exposed group was significantly more [than] in the control group.” However, the findings found no association with bone loss in the spine.
“Overall, the results of this study showed that PPI user in subjects without risk factors of osteoporosis determined by the femoral T-score compared with the control group was associated with increased risk of developing osteoporosis and osteopenia in the femur bones,” the researchers concluded.
The findings are only the most recent to raise concerns over bone problems from Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid and similar heartburn drugs.
In May 2010, the FDA warned that there may be an increased risk of bone fracture from heartburn drugs like Nexium. The FDA required an update to the warning label about the risk of Nexium fractures, and similar warnings were added to other drugs in the class, including Aciphex, Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix, Dexilant, Vimovo and Zegerid.
A year later, the agency updated its warning, saying that the bone fractures appeared to be linked to high doses over a long period of time. Over-the-counter versions of the drugs did not appear to be affected. In the wake of these warnings, hundreds of Nexium bone fracture lawsuits were filed by individuals nationwide, claiming that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn the public of femur fracture risks.
Nexium Kidney Risks
This new study about the risk of osteoporosis comes as a growing number of new Nexium lawsuits, Prilosec lawsuits and other claims over side effects of proton pump inhibitors are being filed by individuals nationwide who allege they suffered kidney failure, kidney disease or other forms of kidney damage.
In December 2014, the FDA required new warnings for the first time about a form of kidney damage associated with proton pump inhibitors, known as acute interstitial nephritis, which involves a sudden inflammation of the kidneys, which can lead to more severe problems.
More recent studies have highlighted the potential link between Nexium and kidney problems, suggesting that the popular drugs make also cause users to experience acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney failure, often resulting in the need for dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant.
Earlier this year, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine 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.
These findings were supported by another study published in April 2016, in which 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.
According to allegations raised in these latest product liability lawsuits, the drug makers placed their desire for profits before consumer safety by aggressively marketing the heartburn medications while withholding information from consumers and the medical community about the potential kidney risks.
As heartburn drug injury lawyers continue to review and file cases, it is expected that thousands of cases could be filed in the coming months.