Many consumers are concerned over the safety of certain drugs they use to fight digestive problems like heartburn. One popular drug, Prilosec, is used by millions of people. It is available by prescription and over-the-counter (OTC). To date, there have not been recalls of Prilosec, but it has been linked to severe side effects. There have been many lawsuits for this problem, with some major settlements.
In recent time, there have been many recalls issued by the government for widely used antacid products like Mylanta, Rolaids and others. A different medicine group called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are also used by millions each year to fight digestive problems like heartburn, a condition also caused by too much gastric acid. So far, there have been many lawsuits involving this type of drug, but no recalls.
Prilosec – History
Prilosec is a drug produced by a global biopharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca. It is one of many types of proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs sold worldwide. AstraZeneca developed the first PPI drug in the 1989, and it was welcomed as a method to relieve heartburn. In the beginning, this drug was named Losec, but that was so similar to another drug called Lasix, that there was confusion that led to medical problems. Some people took the wrong drug and died from that mix-up. The company renamed Losec to Prilosec, and it has flourished ever since.
Prilosec is used by consumers to get relief from heartburn, a condition created by excessive production of stomach acid. This drug works to block the enzyme in the body’s natural proton pump and keep it from overproducing gastric acid. The acid, however, is necessary for digesting food and extracting nutrients from that food. Prilosec interferes with that process and then organs like the kidneys and bones do not receive the nutrients they need to work properly.
When bones do not get enough calcium, there is risk of fracture. When the kidneys do not receive enough magnesium, they may not work properly to cleanse the blood of waste products. This also harms the kidneys and the user of this drug may then experience adverse side effects, including kidney disease, renal failure and then be required to have dialysis or a transplant to survive.
Proton Pump Inhibitors – Hidden Risks
Prilosec, along with similar PPI drugs produced by AstraZeneca have been the subject of multiple lawsuits over side effects. There are hidden risks for major medical problems developing after people took Prilosec for a long period of time, over a year. The risks were hidden by the manufacturer, because they did not disclose them in product packaging or other marketing materials. The reason for this deliberate action was to help maintain the high volume of sales and profits of Prilosec.
Hidden risks that consumers may experience from taking Prilosec include kidney disease, renal failure, dementia and other serious medical problems. Common side effects include problems that are not life-threatening, like nausea, diarrhea or abdominal pain. The more serious and rare side effects are the ones that people need to be advised about before they take any medicine. By not including these adverse side effects on warning labels, people remained unaware that taking PPI drugs could even result in death. Serious side effects include developing kidney disease or failure, bone fractures, dementia and other problems from reduction of essential nutrients.
These drugs do reduce gastric acid production and provide relief, but not quickly. The more serious side effects occur when the drugs are used over a longer period of time. Controlled studies that compared the development of side effects in people who used PPI drugs over a long period of time with those who used other anti-acid medications. The group that used PPI drugs showed a higher rate of serious side effects. The results of studies were strong enough that the Federal Drug Administration did issue warnings about taking proton pump inhibitors. Other studies produced no data to support claims that Prilosec and other PPI drugs caused heart problems.
Lawsuits – Prilosec
There have been many class action and individual lawsuits against AstraZeneca because of side effects that caused injury to users. One of the claims is that the manufacturer hid knowledge they had about serious side effects that occurred with long term use of the drug Prilosec and other similar PPI drugs Nexium and Prevacid.
Lawsuits are an effective method for obtaining justice when someone has been injured due to the negligent behavior of another person or company. Costs for medical care can be devastating, especially when side effects create life-threatening physical problems, like kidney disease. There are costs for medical care, but also expenses related to extended care and emotional distress. If the kidneys fail and require dialysis or a kidney transplant, costs skyrocket. Insurance or government programs only pay 80% at most, leaving the injured person or survivors to pay the remainder. Ongoing dialysis treatments could cost the individual as much as $50,000 per year.
- Damage Claims – In addition to medical care expenses, serious side effects may also result in loss of income, a change in lifestyle, rehabilitation expenses, and if the patient dies, survivors may need to pay for funeral and burial costs, plus they suffer loss of their loved one due to negligence.
- Negligence – A personal injury lawsuit will attempt to place responsibility, or liability, for personal harm and expenses upon the person or company that was negligent and caused the conditions that led to the personal injury situation. In the cases involving PPI drugs like Prilosec, the manufacture acted negligently when they failed to provide adequate warnings about the drugs to consumers. They also manipulated marketing to influence purchase of more expensive brands.
- Fair Compensation – Awards for monetary compensation are amounts high enough to help the injured party pay for all expenses and losses attributable to the injury event.
Class Action Lawsuits & Settlements
When large groups of people suffer the same harm from the same event, they may join together in a class action lawsuit. The group will have legal representation from the same legal professionals, and the case may include people from various geographic regions of the country. Some class action lawsuits take a very long time, up to 10 years in some PPI drug cases, and any award is divided among the group. In some class action lawsuits, settlements have been as high as $20 million and $55 million dollars. You also can file an individual lawsuit and work with your local personal injury attorney.
Personal Injury Attorney
If you have concerns about your own or a loved one’s use of Prilosec and side effects, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who has handled other Prilosec lawsuits. They will be an excellent resource to help you decide which legal option will be your best choice and if any recent recalls have been issued. They will know if there are any open class action lawsuits you may join, or they can provide representation for your own individual lawsuit action.