People who have digestion problems often turn to popular drugs as a quick solution. In this country, far too many people buy over-the-counter Omeprazole proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to remedy heartburn, a common digestive problem that is related to overproduction of gastric acid. Proton pump inhibitors work to reduce those acids, thus helping reduce heartburn and other stomach problems. This is why they have become so popular and widely used today. They are available by prescription or over-the-counter.
Omeprazole is the generic name for the essential substance contained in these proton pump inhibitor drugs. Very popular drugs that contain omeprazole include: Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid, which are all PPIs made by the manufacturer AstraZeneca. The problem with the PPI solution is that it has been shown that there is a relationship between Omeprazole and kidney failure, along with other serious internal problems. For certain conditions, like gastric ulcer, the drug is often taken along with antibiotics, which may increase the potential for suffering from hidden side effects of omeprazole drugs.
Kidney Failure with Omeprazole
The body has an internal proton pump which produces gastric acid to aid digestion. When it produces too much acid, the result may be seen in development of heartburn, ulcers and other digestive problems. Omeprazole is a substance which works to inhibit the production of this acid in the body. Unfortunately, it also has many side effects, some minor, but others can be life-threatening, such as kidney failure.
Proton pump inhibitors have many hidden risks. They are hidden, because the drug manufacturer has failed to provide adequate warnings about many adverse side effects. They naturally want to encourage sales and use of this drug for profitability. In one case, a lawsuit was filed and won by plaintiffs because the producer manipulated their marketing and pricing to encourage use of a more expensive brand drug made from the same substance.
A primary concern for many users of Omeprazole drugs is kidney failure. The drug has a side effect of reducing levels of magnesium, a substance that is essential for proper kidney function. The kidneys filter blood, but when they are damaged, this function is impaired. PPIs have been shown to cause short-term kidney problem, such as inflammatory acute interstitial nephritis. The problem can be increased when the consumer has other medical problems, like diabetes or obesity.
Omeprazole Side Effects – Kidney Disease
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cautioned against using PPIs to treat simple digestive problems like heartburn, but that is a major reason people take this drug. The drug, however, was not designed to provide quick relief; it is meant for longer term use for chronic problems. With that long term usage, chances for developing adverse side effects increases.
According to the American Society of Nephrology, over 20 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease today. Researches also have found that a quarter of kidney patients had used a PPI drug and that they then had twice the risk of dying prematurely. Another study of 10,000 adults found that PPI users were 50 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease than persons who did not take PPI drugs. This finding was not evident for persons who took a different class of drugs to suppress stomach acid, such as Tagamet or Zantac.
Lawsuits – Omeprazole Drugs
Drug side effects that lead to personal injury are the focus of many lawsuits over omeprazole drugs. For example, in many lawsuits, it is claimed that a major PPI drug manufacturer, AstraZeneca, was negligent in not properly warning consumers about risks of side effects. The company knew of adverse conditions that could arise as side effects, including kidney damage, but they failed to adequately warn drug users of this issue.
- Damage Claims – Medical treatment costs are a major claim in these lawsuits, but other damage claims are also included. People who become ill or die from use of omeprazole drugs suffer lost income, aftercare costs, rehabilitation services and personal losses. Survivors may claim funeral and burial costs, loss of companionship, loss of future inheritance and other monetary harm.
- Negligence – Negligent behavior by a drug manufacturer is a core charge in these personal injury lawsuits. When people take a drug for a minor condition and they may develop more serious medical problems as side effects of that drug use, they deserve to know in advance about potential risks, all risks, not just some minor ones. Not disclosing known adverse side effects information is negligent behavior.
- Fair Compensation – When you are harmed by someone else’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated fairly for any related expenses or losses that are related to that that injury event. In some cases, multiple defendants may bear responsibility for damage claims. Determining fair compensation is an important part of these lawsuits. A class action lawsuit will have many people in a group and the awards generally are significantly higher than if it was just an individual lawsuit. However, the awards are then divided among the class.
Class Action Lawsuits & Settlements
Depending on the circumstances of your personal injury case, you may be eligible to participate in a class action lawsuit or file your own individual action. Class action lawsuits serve large groups of people with the same legal issue and they may serve people from multiple geographic regions. It may be more costly to pursue justice on an individual basis. The settlements for class action lawsuits generally are very high, up to many millions of dollars in some cases. So far, some PPI lawsuits have settled for large amounts, including $20 million and $55 million dollars.
Personal Injury Attorney
If you wish to pursue justice in a lawsuit to recover fair compensation for personal injuries that are due to use of Omeprazole drugs (Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium and others), the starting point is to meet with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney who has previously won cases for others in the same area of concern will be able to help you determine the best course of action to take. They also should know if there are any open class action lawsuits that you might be eligible to join.