How often do you have a heartburn? What medications do you take for relief? Read on to find out how some heartburn drugs can cause devastating kidney injuries.
Many personal injury lawyers in Texas are handling increasing numbers of heartburn drugs lawsuits. These personal injury lawsuits result from complications from specific heartburn medications. While claimants purchased them to cure their heartburn, they never foresaw the dangerous side effects they now have to manage. That’s the basis of their claims —they’d never have purchased the dangerous drugs if they knew of their potential risks.
Heartburn is typically a symptom of acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) says about 20% of US residents have GERD. GERD and heartburn complications include esophageal cancer, tooth decay, esophageal ulcer, etc. This disease is due to the lower esophageal sphincter relaxing at the wrong time, thereby allowing the reflux of gastric contents (stomach acid) into the esophagus.
Also called acid indigestion, common symptoms of heartburn include a burning sensation in the chest and pain when lying down. Some patients may experience an acidic or bitter taste in the mouth. Heartburn symptoms can be very distressing, and patients usually seek fast relief for their discomfort.
However, while heartburn medications are effective treatments for the condition, it has brought worse health implications. In this article, we’ll discuss the adverse effects of heartburn drugs with an emphasis on kidney injuries. If you’re a victim of these medications, we’ll show you how to get help.
What Heartburn Medications Cause Kidney Injuries in Texas?
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are commonly used to treat heartburns. They may be over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs. Sometimes, they can also be effective in treating hiatal hernia.
PPI is a strong stomach acid-suppressant medication. They help reduce your body’s acid production and are efficient treatment options for ulcers and esophagus inflammation.
Let’s elaborate on how they work to treat acid reflux and heartburn. Specific cells in the stomach wall produce gastric acid. Gastric acid aids digestion by activating digestive enzymes that break down food. That way your body can easily absorb nutrients.
However, too much gastric acid production can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea. They can also cause heartburn when they enter the esophagus. Proton pump inhibitors manage this situation by impeding the proton pump mechanism that produces gastric acid.
Unfortunately, PPIs have been linked to the following kidney risks, especially when used for a long period of time:
Hypomagnesemia is one of the side effects of PPIs. It’s the medical term to describe low magnesium amounts in the body. Your body stores magnesium in your bones.
Magnesium performs numerous functions in the body. One of the essential ones is relaxing the walls of your blood vessels to regulate blood pressure. Data from observational studies show connections between hypomagnesemia and the increased risk of the development of chronic kidney disease.
Common symptoms of low magnesium include weakness, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, seizures, etc. Medical management of hypomagnesemia includes the use of oral magnesium supplements.
- Acute Kidney Injury
Acute kidney injury (also acute renal failure) is another kidney complication associated with prolonged PPI use. According to the National Kidney Foundation, it’s a sudden episode of kidney damage that happens in a few hours or days. This condition restricts the kidney’s functioning and causes waste build-up in the blood. Acute kidney injury also affects the brain, heart, and lungs.
Common symptoms of Acute kidney failure include fatigue, shortness of breath, fluid retention, reduced urination, etc. It can cause permanent kidney damage and death. Many Acute kidney injury patients will need intensive care. Fortunately, this condition is reversible with proper medical management especially when it’s diagnosed early.
- Acute Interstitial Nephritis
Yet another condition due to bad reaction to PPIs, interstitial nephritis is a kidney disorder. It refers to swelling or inflammation that occurs in between the kidney tubules. This condition can be acute (temporary) or chronic (permanent).
Interstitial nephritis can cause an abnormal decrease or increase in urine output. It also causes blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, confusion, fever, rash, and water retention that causes weight gain.
There are different treatment options for acute interstitial nephritis depending on the cause. For PPI-induced interstitial nephritis, the best option is drug removal. In severe cases, you may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease is one of the most devastating complications of PPI medications. It’s a progressive loss of kidney function and is irreversible. What’s worse is that many patients experience little or no symptoms until it has reached their advanced stage. It causes body waste and fluids to build up in the body.
Common symptoms of chronic kidney disease include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and high blood pressure. It can also cause heart disease, anemia, and end-stage kidney disease. When managing this condition, healthcare providers will typically focus on slowing the diseases’ progression.
- End-Stage Renal Disease
This is another devastating kidney-related condition due to the extra use of PPIs. It happens when a chronic kidney disease has reached its most advanced stage. End-stage renal failure means that your kidneys have stopped working completely. This will usually cause the patient’s death except they undergo dialysis or do a kidney transplant.
Chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, swelling of the feet and ankles, etc., are common end-stage renal disease symptoms. Some patients may develop high blood pressure and persistent itching.
The following are the common types of PPI medications that increase your risk of kidney damage with long-term use:
- Aciphex (rabeprazole)
- Dexilant (dexlansoprazole)
- Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Protonix (pantoprazole)
- Vimovo (esomeprazole and naproxen)
- Yosprala (aspirin and omeprazole)
- Zegerid (omeprazole/sodium bicarbonate)
Apart from PPIs, another class of acid-suppressant medication can treat heartburns. They’re called H2 blockers or H2 receptor antagonists. Medications in this category include Zantac (Ranitidine), Pepcid (famotidine), and Tagamet (cimetidine).
Ranitidine can also cause kidney damage because of its NDMA (N-Nitrosodimethylamine) content. So, it’s important to talk to your healthcare providers about safer alternatives to avoid the adverse effects of proton pump inhibitors.
Lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol and acidic foods can help you manage GERD symptoms. You can also attempt surgical management upon a doctor’s advice.
What Are the Other Adverse Effects of Proton Pump Inhibitors?
Apart from kidney-related conditions, proton-pump inhibitors also cause the following complications:
- Increased Risk of Infections
PPIs can expose you to numerous infections through the reduction of stomach acid productions. Gastric acids help to fight diseases and infections. So, the less they are, the more you’re prone to catching infections. That’s especially if you already have conditions like asthma, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes.
- Stomach Cancer
PPI puts you at a higher risk of developing gastric cancer, especially if you have a history of H. pylori infection. PPIs can hide stomach cancer symptoms. As a result, PPI medication users are prone to late stomach cancer diagnosis.
Stomach cancer is abnormal cell growth starting from any part of your stomach. It can also affect the gastroesophageal junction. Gastric cancer symptoms include stomach pain, indigestion, heartburn, vomiting, etc.
- Nutritional Deficiencies
Your body needs various nutrients to function properly. There’ll always be problems when your body cannot absorb and utilize specific essential nutrients. That’s what PPI does; it makes nutrient absorption difficult, especially iron and magnesium. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, and magnesium deficiency harms your bones, teeth, and muscles.
- Increased Risk of Bone Fractures and Bone Loss
Like iron and magnesium, PPIs can reduce your body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 or calcium. Vitamin B12 plays essential roles in red blood cell formation, DNA production, and nerve function. B12 deficiency causes an increased risk of hip fracture and osteoporosis (weak bones).
On the other hand, calcium is the most abundant mineral in every human’s body. It’s primarily responsible for maintaining strong bones. Calcium deficiency will, as a result, cause bone fractures and osteoporosis.
- Increased Risk of Heart Attacks
Prolonged PPI use can increase your risk of a heart attack. For persons with a history of heart attack and are using blood thinners, it predisposes them to a repeat attack. Also called myocardial infections, heart attacks are pretty common in the USA.
Can I Take Any Legal Action For My Renal Failure Due to Dangerous Drugs?
If you’re sure that PPI use caused your kidney disease, stomach cancer, etc., you can get the manufacturers to pay compensation. Your claim will be based on the fact that the manufacturer knew of the drugs’ adverse effects and failed to warn the public. That constitutes negligent behavior under defective drug laws.
You can decide to file a personal injury lawsuit or join a class action. You may also file a wrongful death claim if your family member died from PPI-induced complications. Your attorney will evaluate your case and let you know how to go about it.
What Types of Compensation Will I Receive After Successful PPI Defective Drug Lawsuits
The type of compensation and settlement amounts you’ll receive in your case depends on several factors. However, your damages will typically cover economic, and non-economic compensation.
Economic damages may include:
- Past and future lost wages
- Medical bills
- Burial expenses (in a wrongful death lawsuit)
- Cost of treatment, etc.
The following fall under non-economic damages:
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life, etc.
It’s essential to hire experienced PPI defective drug lawyers to handle your case. They’ll fight for your justice without fail and provide you with adequate emotional support.
Let’s Help You Hold Negligent Drug Companies Responsible for Your Injuries Today!
Do you suffer from acute kidney injury, gastric cancer, cardiovascular disease, etc.? Have you been using proton pump inhibitor therapy for extended periods? Then you may be eligible for a PPI lawsuit in Texas. With help from an experienced PPI injury attorney, you can get maximum compensation from the negligent pharmaceutical companies.
At McDonald Worley, our defective drug lawyers are experienced in proton pump inhibitor medication lawsuits and claims. We’ll fight for your rights while leaving you enough time to respond to medical treatment. We guarantee the best results in the shortest time possible. Contact us today and schedule a free case review; we’re available round the clock.