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Risk of Kidney Problems with Nexium, Prilosec, Other Acid Reflux Drugs Highlighted in New Study

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The findings of yet another study appear to link the side effects of Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid and other acid reflux drugs to an increased risk of kidney problems, including chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease. 

In a study presented this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in New Orleans, researchers from the U.S. and Thailand indicate that a popular class of heartburn drugs, known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), appear to increase the risk of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure by one-third.

While the results are considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, the findings support indications in other studies about the risk of kidney problems with Nexium, Prilosec and other widely used PPI drugs.

Researchers reviewed literature from a number of databases to identify studies looking at chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) through March 2017. They found five studies involving a total of 536,902 participants that met their eligibility criteria.

According to the findings, those who used drugs like Nexium and Prilosec were 33% more likely to suffer chronic kidney disease or kidney failure than non-PPI users.

“This study demonstrated an increased risk of CKD or ESRD among PPI users,” the researchers concluded. “Whether this association is causal requires further investigations.”

Heartburn Drug Kidney Concerns

Although Nexium, Prilosec and other PPI drugs are widely used by millions of Americans, who assume the medications carry few serious side effects, questions have emerged about kidney risks associated with the drugs over the past three years. Studies and adverse event reports identifying a potential increase in the risk of acute kidney injury, acute interstitial nephritis, chronic kidney damage and kidney failure.

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 (AIN), 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.

Since the drugs have been aggressively promoted without indication of any serious side effects, many users are kept on the medications for long periods of time, without any effort to reduce or stop the need for the medication. Experts have expressed concern that many users continue to take the drugs, even though there may be no real medical need any longer.

This new study comes as a growing number of Nexium lawsuitsPrilosec lawsuitsPrevacid lawsuitsProtonix lawsuits and claims over other PPIs continue to be filed in courts nationwide, alleging that drug makers failed to adequately research the long-term risks associated with their heartburn drugs, or warn about the potentially life-threatening kidney injuries.

As heartburn drug injury lawyers continue to review and file cases, it is ultimately expected that thousands of kidney injury cases may be filed in the coming months and years.

Given similar questions of fact and law raised in the complaints, consolidated pretrial proceedings have been established in the federal court system, where all lawsuits are centralized before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in the District of New Jersey to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

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