Like several other brand name drugs, Prevacid (lansoprazole) is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). It works in the body to reduce the amount of gastric acid produced in the stomach by the body’s internal proton pump. The purpose of the body’s natural production of gastric acid is to help with digestion of food. When there is an excessive amount of this acid present, it can create troublesome problems like heartburn, stomach and intestinal ulcers, and esophagus damage.
Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca manufactures the drug Prevacid, which is a leading medication used to treat gastroesphageal reflux disease (GERD) and peptic ulcer disease (PUD). It was developed and received FDA approval in 1989, and it is used by millions of people worldwide. It also was the first in a class of proton pump inhibitors that slow down the production of gastric acid in the stomach. Over time, long-term users of Prevacid and other PPIs discovered that more harm than good occurred from usage.
Many people have used Prevacid over recent years to treat a variety of physical issues. This drug is available over-the-counter (Prevacid OTC), and it often is used when someone has heartburn. Despite this common use, the drug is not meant to provide rapid relief from heartburn symptoms. It is used to help prevent frequent heartburn that occurs two or more times per week.
Even if you believe your physical problem is just heartburn, it is recommended that anyone considering use of Prevacid should consult with their physician prior to use, because there may be other concerns to consider, such as certain side effects or negative results when it is used in combination with other medications. In addition to that problem, many symptoms that appear to be heartburn may actually be symptoms of a much more serious condition, like a heart attack.
The problems associated with serious side effects of long-term use of Prevacid include intestinal infections, low magnesium levels, bone fractures, kidney disease or injury, and dementia. Unfortunately for users, the company did not disclose these more serious side effects in their product literature and marketing. Because of the suffering endured by persons harmed by their use of this drug, many victims have obtained legal representation to obtain fair compensation for expenses and losses due to side effects of the drug.
Prevacid – Hidden Risks
When people take prescription drugs, they trust that what was prescribed will help them and not cause even worse problems. The same generally applies to use of over-the-counter (OTC) products. Most people trust the FDA that approves drugs for use has done their homework for them. Unfortunately, in some cases, the drug manufacturers have taken actions to hide problems that ultimately resulted in harm, damage claims and multiple lawsuits.
One of the biggest legal issues for this drug is that the product did not carry adequate warnings about potential side effects. The manufacturer knew about these hidden risks, but only warned about some milder side effects. Another issue involved the pricing of the drug, as the makers took steps to persuade recommendation and use of Prevacid over other similar drugs that were less expensive.
Lawsuits – Prevacid
Because of the hidden risks that caused pain, suffering and other problems for most of the people who suffered serious side effects after they took Prevacid in recent years, there have been many individual and class action lawsuits filed across the country.
- Damage Claims – Lawsuit claims about Prevacid drugs made by AstraZeneca involve several issues, primarily which include claims that the company did not provide truthful and complete information about drug side effects and related risks. Because of this negligent action, people suffered physically and financially. In addition to the physical damage claims, some lawsuits addressed efforts the company made to promote other identical drugs that cost more than Prevacid.
- Side Effects – Common and rare side effects have been documented after use of Prevacid. The more common effects range from skin rash and diarrhea to itching, vomiting, joint pain, stomach pain and nausea. Rare side effects include problems like mental depression, anxiety, cough, unusual bleeding or bruising and flu-like symptoms. In the worst cases, users have experienced bone fractures, ulcers, kidney disease, kidney failure and dementia. The drug also may interact with other medicines, causing injury. To make matters worse, it may affect any of the internal systems in the body.
- Negligence – Lawsuits claim negligence by the manufacturer in all areas of design, manufacture and marketing of Prevacid. By hiding important information about side effects and by trying to manipulate drug pricing, consumers were harmed.
- Fair Compensation – Individual and class action Prevacid lawsuits seek fair compensation for injured plaintiffs. The courts look at critical evidence and make a judgment about the case facts. To date, the company has been fined many millions of dollars for their actions that resulted in harm to users of Prevacid. The lawsuits seek fair compensation for injured persons to help pay for medical care and aftercare, income loss, pain and suffering and other damages that are related to use of this product.
Class Action Lawsuits & Settlements
Several class action lawsuits have been made against AstraZeneca, resulting in high settlements. Recent cases include a $20 million settlement agreed to in 2015 that was about product pricing schemes. Another case was won by defendants who purchased the OTC version of this drug and then contracted food poisoning, a side effect that was not included in product literature warnings. Class action lawsuits may include a large number of plaintiffs. The few who initiate the action usually receive the highest compensation, but all participants receive compensation when the case is won, and judgments often are in millions of dollars to the group.
Personal Injury Attorney
If you believe you or a loved one has suffered from side effects after taking Prevacid for heartburn or another symptom, take time right away to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorney will provide advice, consul and representation with regard to your legal options. You may file an individual lawsuit or you may be eligible to join in an ongoing class action lawsuit in your area.
Your health and well-being are worth protecting. If this requires legal action, do not hesitate to make that first call for information about your legal options.