The Dangers of Proton Pump Inhibitors

Millions of people in the U.S. take proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Popular brands include Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid. These drugs treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which the stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. This can cause severe heartburn and even ulcers. But research has shown potential dangers in taking PPIs long-term to treat symptoms.

What are some proton pump inhibitor side effects or possible complications? 

PPIs work by blocking the production of acid in the stomach. Over the years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued several warnings about this drug. Many of the dangers stem from long-term use and/or higher doses. One example is the risk of bone fractures related to reduced calcium absorption.

Another danger linked to PPIs is risk of infections like Clostridium difficile because of reduced stomach acid, which normally kills these bacteria. C. diff is an infection that can result in life-threatening diarrhea and inflammation of the colon. It’s especially dangerous to the elderly.

In fact, the recommended duration for PPIs is eight (8) to twelve (12) weeks. But some people become dependent and stay on them for life. This could have negative effects on the body because the drug is also linked to poor absorption of important nutrients like calcium.

Studies have shown PPIs could reduce the efficacy of other drugs, such as Plavix (an anti-clotting drug).  A reduction in its protective effects could increase the risk of heart attack.

Pneumonia is another danger linked to PPIs. One possible explanation is that stomach acids stimulate coughing, which helps to clear the lungs. But that can’t happen if there isn’t enough acid in the stomach to promote coughing.

If someone suffers serious side effects or complications from proton pump inhibitors, is another party liable? 

It’s important to note that drug companies don’t believe PPIs are to blame for many of the complications mentioned above. They suggest that age and other underlying health problems are the root cause of the dangers linked to this drug.

But if you or a loved one took PPIs and suffered one of these adverse events, talk to an attorney today. Pharmaceutical manufacturer liability may apply when its product causes serious injury. Sometimes it’s later learned a drug company knew of the risks but didn’t disclose them. Another way of showing liability is when a manufacturer failed to include warnings on the drug.

It’s also possible to file a claim against the doctor who prescribed the drug. Evidence of negligence is needed, like prescribing a drug that interferes with another drug the patient is taking. Other examples of negligence might include prescribing it for too long or too high of a dose. Again, you need to contact an attorney to learn if you have a legitimate case.

What types of damages are recoverable in a case involving a prescription drug? 

This depends on the losses suffered. Damages could include medical costs to treat the proton pump inhibitor side effects or complications. If the person was unable to work during recovery, they may include lost wages. Sometimes compensation addresses losses such as pain and suffering and mental anguish.

The only way to know if you have a case is to seek legal advice. Filing a claim against a drug company or doctor is challenging. Call an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates to set up your consultation and review your case as well as legal options. Call us at 800-550-0000 or use our online contact form to set up your appointment.


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