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Risks of Health Issues from Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid

Posted in Drug Injury on February 20, 2020

Heartburn drugs like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid effectively treat symptoms short-term but raise red flags for increased health risks ranging from bone fractures to dementia with long-term use.

Comparing Key Points

Short-term Use Long-term Use
Effectiveness Relieve heartburn, reflux, and GERD Control symptoms long-term
Side Effects Generally minimal Increased health risks

What are the health risks associated with regular, long-term use of heartburn medications like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid?

Recent studies have raised red flags linking the extended use of these common proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to multiple health issues ranging from bone fractures to dementia, kidney disease, and upper gastrointestinal cancers. While short-term use is typically safe, the longer patients use these medications the greater their risk of developing life-altering health conditions.

Those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), often turn to prescription and over the counter medications to help relieve symptoms.

GERD is characterized by persistent acid reflux and the symptoms can make you feel like your throat and stomach are on fire.

For the occasional bout of reflux, or heartburn, many people turn to over the counter solutions like Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid. For short-term use, these drugs, which are known as proton pump inhibitors (PPI), are generally fine. However, many who suffer long-term with GERD turn to these drugs both in over the counter and prescription form, to control their symptoms.

  • Most of us have experienced brief episodes of heartburn or acid reflux because we ate something which did not agree with us, or because we ate a very spicy meal, or because we are under a great deal of stress and a meal simply did not set right.
  • However, GERD is an ongoing problem for some people which can result in additional health issues including:
    • Ulcers
    • Damage to the lining of the esophagus
    • May also be a precursor to esophageal cancer

Some estimates show nearly 20 percent of the adult population in the United States suffers from GERD

Pharmaceutical GERD Treatments

For those who suffer recurring heartburn or acid reflux, after testing by a physician they are often prescribed various treatments to help control the acid their bodies are producing. There are three classifications of medication which are:

  • Promotility Drugs – these drugs are no longer prescribed after several investigations by the FDA. These drugs were considered too dangerous for long-term use.
    • While there may be a limited number of people who still use these promotility medications, most have been prescribed other medications.
  • H2 Receptor Blockers receptor blockers have proven effective in some patients, however, many who once found relief find their symptoms recur even while on medication when treated long-term.
    • These medications may include Pepcid, Pepcid AC, and Zantac to name a few of the most prescribed.
    • Many of these are also available in over-the-counter form.
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors – PPIs, or proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid are the most used medications for recurring GERD symptoms.
    • These drugs work by limiting acid secretion in the stomach.
    • Patients using these drugs, both in prescription and over-the-counter form usually find long-term relief from their symptoms.
    • The problem is that long-term use of these drugs can cause additional health issues.

Keep in mind, there are lifestyle changes, and surgical procedures which can also help those who suffer with GERD. Unfortunately, many patients still find they need some forms of medication to control their symptoms.

Red Flag Warnings Raised about PPIs

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are used to treat issues like acid reflux, heartburn, and ulcers. Unfortunately, more information is starting to raise red flags about the safety of these medications for long-term use.

  • Health problems like upper gastrointestinal cancers, chronic kidney disease, and fatal cases of cardiovascular disease have been linked to long-term use of PPIs.

Unfortunately, these are not the only risks associated with these drugs. In some studies, patients who were taking PPIs regularly, even in small doses were more likely to suffer from:

  • Bone fractures
  • Dementia
  • Heart disease
  • Infections in the stomach
  • Kidney disease

Some patients also suffered numerous bouts of respiratory problems including pneumonia. While there does not seem to be as high a risk for those who are using the over the counter or prescription PPIs for the short-term, the longer they are being used, the greater the risk of health issues.

Dangerous Side Effects and the FDA

  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicaid Integrity Group (MIG) has compiled some of the common problems associated with use of PPIs including most recently, the increased risk of bone fracture.
  • Dangerous side effects were not disclosed to the FDA in a timely manner, putting even more patients at risk today, and potentially in the future.
  • Patients who have suffered chronic kidney disease, other dangerous conditions as a result of the use of these medications often do not know what their options are when they were not properly informed of the potentially dangerous side effects.

This is why anyone who has suffered adverse side effects after the use of Prilosec, Prevacid, or Nexium should consider seeking advice from an attorney with experience dealing with dangerous drug lawsuits.

Why File a Lawsuit?

Pharmaceutical companies have an obligation to properly inform doctors about the side effects associated with all prescription drugs. When a drug is available over the counter, they have an obligation to put proper warnings on the labels so consumers will understand the risks associated with short- and long-term use of a drug.

  • When these warnings are not properly communicated, people suffer health consequences which could have been avoided.

Keep in mind, a pharmaceutical company is going to have a high-power legal team working on their behalf. This means you need someone who is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with a firm who is making millions of dollars thanks to a company who has placed their profits above the well-being of people who need to be treated for a serious disease like GERD.

“Victims filing Prevacid, Prilosec, and Nexium-related lawsuits may be entitled to collect compensation for illness and injury caused after they used these medications. Each case is slightly different, and therefore, working with an attorney is the first step to deciding if you have the basis for a case.”

We understand you may have long-term health issues and we may be able to help you file a dangerous product liability lawsuit to recover the financial losses you suffered as a result of the lack of warning associated with these drugs.

We understand your need to focus on your health so if we decide to take your case, we will help you with the legal aspects of a personal injury case due to dangerous drugs.

For more information or to schedule a free initial consultation with a New Orleans dangerous drug attorney, contact us online or call (504) 500-5000 today. 

We proudly serve clients on the Westbank, and Eastbank, across the Greater New Orleans metropolitan area and throughout Louisiana statewide.