Prilosec is a drug that is classified as a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). It is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by lowering the acid content in a person’s stomach. Approximately 15 million Americans take Prilosec (generic name Omeprazole) or similar PPIs. But research suggests that up to 25% of long term users of PPIs could cease taking the drugs without having worse acid reflux or heartburn.
Many people who take Prilosec long term have filed personal injury and product liability lawsuits. They claim using the drug for months or years can increase the chance of having a stroke, bone fracture, kidney injury, heart damage and/or renal failure.
To date, more than 4,000 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits have been filed against AstraZeneca, the manufacturer of Prilosec, by people who suffered serious injuries from taking this PPI medication, including kidney disease and failure. All of the lawsuits are now combined in a federal court in New Jersey after a decision by the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Legislation. In the US District Court in the District of New Jersey, all of the discovery and evidence collecting in the US is taking place.
If you have been injured by taking Prilosec for GERD, you may want to talk to a personal injury attorney about your legal options. You could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. People who suffer from kidney disease and failure are facing serious financial, physical, mental and emotional challenges, and they deserve compensation if Prilosec was the cause.
This article contains the information you need to know about Prilosec Omeprazole lawsuits and what to do if you have been injured by this drug.
What is Prilosec – A Dangerous Drug?
In federal court filings, attorneys for the plaintiffs have argued the following:
- Prilosec or Omeprazole is a defective and unreasonably dangerous drug.
- The manufacturer of the drug has been negligent in production of Prilosec.
- The drug manufacturer did not test the medication appropriately and did not warn patients and doctors of the risks of long term use.
- The manufacturer hid evidence of the drug’s dangers from the US government and the public. It also misrepresented the drug’s safety in its sales materials.
There is considerable scientific evidence that taking Prilosec for more than a year can lead to serious side effects.
For example, a report in The Journal of American Medical Association found that using a PPI for long periods can increase your risk of chronic kidney disease. (Jamanetwork.com)
Also, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology reports that while PPIs have a strong overall safety record, there are serious concerns about major renal problems in some users. Prilosec is associated with acute interstitial nephritis (AIN). While only a small number of people get AIN from this drug, Prilosec is still a common cause of the health condition in the West because of widespread and prolonged use. (NIH.gov)
Prilosec Injuries and Side Effects
Patients have been filing Prilosec or Omeprazole kidney disease and failure lawsuits because of major side effects of the drug. The most severe are kidney failure, bone fractures, stroke, and heart damage.
Patients who take several doses each day for a year or longer, especially people 50 or older, have a higher risk of hip, wrist and spine fractures. They also have a 20-50% higher chance of kidney disease compared with people who do not take the drug. Patients also have a 20-30% higher chance of stroke.
It is important to inform your physician if you have any of the following problems after taking Prilosec:
- Kidney disease
- Low bone mineral density, or osteopenia
- Numbness in your arms, legs or face
- Trouble speaking or confusion
- Vision loss
- Trouble walking
- Serious headaches
- Low blood levels of magnesium
More information on health problems associated with Prilosec (Omeprazole):
- Kidney damage: In 2016, clinical study results in a medical journal showed that long term use of the drug could cause chronic kidney failure or renal disease.
- Bone fractures: In 2006, it was reported in a medical journal that Prilosec could boost the risk of bone fracture, especially in the elderly. A consumer warning from FDA was released and a change to the drug label was mandated in 2010.
- Acid rebound: In 2009, the drug was shown to lead to ‘dependency.’ Research indicated that if the drug was not used suddenly, the stomach could start to release excess acid.
- Birth defects: In 2010, scientists said there could be a link between cardiac birth defects and using Prilosec (Omeprazole). FDA states there was no statistical link in humans, but some animal studies have shown there is a risk. Prilosec is now listed as Pregnancy Category C. This means it should not be taken by a pregnant woman unless there is an urgent need.
- Hypomagnesemia: In 2011, a warning was released about low levels of magnesium that could be caused by the drug. Hypomagnesemia can affect the ways the nerves and muscles function, and also can affect the heart.
- Intestinal infection: In 2012, FDA released a warning about the higher risk of gastrointestinal illness. Clostridium difficile (C diff), especially in the elderly, is a risk. The drug label was changed to include a C diff warning. Information also was included about drug interactions and how long the drug can be taken safely.
- Vascular aging: In 2016, scientists found that PPI use can age the vascular cells prematurely. This can cause illnesses related to age: dementia, renal failure, heart disease and cancer.
- Heart attack: In 2015, two large clinical studies showed a higher risk of heart attack. The clinical studies looked at 3 million people who took Prilosec. It was found that risk of heart attack could rise by 16-21%.
Some doctors have reported that up to 70% of PPI use may be unnecessary and the drugs are often used for much longer than they should be. Prilosec also has been at the center of several lawsuits for bone fractures, birth defects and serious problems caused by low magnesium.
Prilosec Kidney Failure Symptoms
Kidney disease and kidney failure are possible side effects of prolonged Prilosec (Omeprazole) use and that is why so many personal injury lawsuits have been filed by some drug users. Chronic kidney disease is a serious, potentially fatal condition that causes a long term loss of kidney function over many years. Chronic disease of the kidneys happens after the organs have sustained long term damage and cannot filter toxins from the blood. Symptoms of the disease are:
- Swelling in the ankles, feet and legs
- Fluid accumulation in the lungs
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Vomiting and/or loss of appetite
- Difficulty urinating
- High levels of fatigue
Why Do People File Prilosec (Omeprazole) Kidney Failure Lawsuits?
If you have been diagnosed with kidney disease or kidney failure after taking Prilosec, you may want to file a Prilosec lawsuit to be compensated for your medical bills, loss of income, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering and lost income. Kidney disease is a devastating health problem and will have a major impact on your life:
- If the function of your kidneys deteriorates to the point that you need dialysis, you could need to spend 9-15 hours per week on dialysis. After you have dialysis, you will probably feel tired and generally unwell. It can take hours to recover from the dialysis process every time you go. Also keep in mind that a year of dialysis can cost approximately $89,000.
- If you need a kidney transplant, you will need to have major surgery that takes months of recovery. There also are many serious risks with such a major operation. Further, you will need expensive medical care for the rest of your life to prevent your body from rejecting the new organ. In addition, you may have to wait three to five years to get a new kidney. During that time, you will still need to be on dialysis. A kidney transplant can cost more than $400,000. Plus, the drugs to prevent organ rejection can cost $3000 each month.
- When your kidneys no longer function properly, you will probably be very ill. You may lose income from your work because you simply cannot work effectively, or even work at all. If you have a kidney transplant, you could be not working for months. Even if you do not need a transplant, going to dialysis for hours each week can be like a part time job where you do not get paid.
- Future medical care: Even if you have early detection of your kidney disease from taking Prilosec, the damage can be incurable and permanent. If you need medical care in the future, your Prilosec settlement needs to cover these substantial costs, too. You will need money to pay not just your current medical bills but bills for the rest of your life.
- Pain and suffering: When you feel too ill to live your life, or need to plan your existence around dialysis, or need to have a kidney transplant, you are suffering mentally and physically. Patients want compensation in a Prilosec lawsuit for the pain and suffering they are enduring.
Filing a Prilosec (Omeprazole) Lawsuit for Kidney Disease and Failure
Patients who have kidney damage or other serious side effects after taking the drug could be entitled to be part of a Prilosec lawsuit. Many claims have been filed against the manufacturer of Prilosec. The lawsuits allege the company failed to warn that PPI use could cause kidney damage and renal failure.
You may be wondering what sort of settlement you might expect from filing a Prilosec kidney disease and failure lawsuit. Each day, as you know, you must deal with the consequences of having kidney disease. You probably are taking several medicines and going to dialysis. You are seeing the pile of medical bills getting larger and the costs keep going up. Perhaps you are missing work for your medical appointments, and maybe you even have lost your job or can no longer work.
For many people, compensation from a Prilosec lawsuit is not just a way to make things right. It is compensation that you need to improve your health and to get the money that you need for your family to survive during such a hard time.
Talk to a Prilosec (Omeprazole) Attorney
Because PPIs are so popular, millions of Americans are at higher risk for having serious health problems from the drug, including chronic kidney disease and failure, acute interstitial nephritis and acute kidney injury. Patients who have had these serious side effects could be entitled to be part of a Prilosec lawsuit. You may be entitled to receive substantial compensation for:
- Medical costs
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Funeral expenses, if you lost a loved one to a serious health problem caused by Prilosec use
While no Prilosec kidney disease and failure lawsuits have been resolved yet, Astrazeneca and other PPI drug makers have paid substantial amounts, more than $100 billion by some estimates, for other claims against them. Our experienced defective drug attorney can tell you quickly if you have a potential case against AstraZeneca for causing your kidney disease or failure. If you have questions about filing a lawsuit, please contact us for more information.
- Proton Pump Inhibitor Use and the Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease. (2016). Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2481157
- PPIs and Kidney Disease. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27072818