Prilosec (omeprazole) is a drug that is designed to reduce levels of stomach acid. If a person’s stomach acid is excessive, it can get into the esophagus. This problem can cause significant forms of heartburn and a host of other health problems. Prilosec is from a drug class called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Its chemistry is similar to Nexium.
Prilosec helps to treat health problems that stem from excessive stomach acid. Prilosec turns off the tiny pumps in the stomach that produce acid. This drug reduces the stomach acid levels in the body. Omeprazole also relieves heartburn and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). People often use Prilosec to heal acid damage in the stomach and esophagus. Prilosec also can prevent ulcers and esophageal cancer.
Problems With Long-Term Use of Prilosec
Unfortunately, this drug – both prescription and OTC versions – have long-term health risks that can be serious. Many clinical studies have shown that long-term use of Prilosec can cause a variety of medical problems, including:
- Kidney damage, injury or failure
- Acute Interstitial Nephritis (AIN)
- Fractures in the hip, wrist or spine
- Vitamin B 12 deficiency
- A severe form of diarrhea – clostridium difficile – due to intestinal infection
- Low levels of magnesium
While serious side effects and health problems from Prilosec are rare, they can cause injury and even death. If you have suffered a severe injury due to using Prilosec, such as kidney disease or kidney damage, it is essential to consult with a personal injury attorney experienced with lawsuits related to drug injuries.
More information about the health dangers of Prilosec is below.
Prilosec and Kidney Risks
Several clinical studies have shown that PPIs including Prilosec and Prilosec OTC are linked to severe problems with the kidneys. Prilosec dangers to the kidneys include a more significant risk of long-term kidney damage and kidney disease. For example, a clinical study in 2017 looked at 100,000 PPI users over a 60 month period. Approximately 50% of people who had chronic damage to the kidneys did not have kidney problems before they began to take PPIs.
In 2016, researchers discovered that long-term use of PPIs almost doubled the risk of kidney failure. Plus, researchers in Canada reviewed medical records of 290,000 patients. They determined that PPI users were more likely to have acute kidney injuries.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Allege Kidney Problems
There have been hundreds of personal injury lawsuits filed across the United States that allege that Prilosec can cause kidney damage. These lawsuits have blamed both prescription and over the counter versions of the drug to cause many serious kidney problems.
There have been so many PPI lawsuits that a federal panel in 2017 combined the many legal actions into multidistrict litigation or MDL. An MDL allows several related lawsuits to move together through the courts faster. As of summer 2018, there were more than 4700 Prilosec lawsuits contained in the MDL. The most common injuries alleged in the lawsuits are:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Kidney injury
- Kidney failure
- Acute interstitial nephritis
Symptoms of severe kidney problems, such as chronic kidney disease, include:
- Swelling in ankles, feet or legs
- Fluid buildup in the lungs
- High blood pressure
- Trouble urinating
- Extreme tiredness
- Loss of appetite and nausea
- Abnormalities in heartbeat
Other Long-Term Consumer Dangers of Prilosec
Medical researchers are continuing to find new dangers of this drug almost three decades after FDA approved the drug. Recent clinical studies have exposed a link between PPIs to other health risks ranging from cancer to heart disease. Prilosec can also lead to various health problems for children; women should consult their doctor before taking this drug during pregnancy.
Clinical studies have found a link between PPIs and these cancers:
- Esophageal cancer: A study in 2018 reviewed the medical records of 795,000 patients in Sweden who were given PPI therapy over a seven-year period. Researchers found PPIs led to 5% of all cases of esophageal cancer.
- Gastric cancer: A study in 2017 looked at PPI therapy after Helicobacter pylori treatments. The investigation determined that using PPIs over the long term caused a 100% increased risk of gastric cancer.
Heart Attack and Stroke
A study in 2016 on the drug determined that it can boost your risk of stroke. Another clinical research the year before linked the drug to a higher risk of heart attack:
- Stroke: The 2016 study found that stroke risk increased by 21% on average. But the risk was different based upon PPI type and the dosage. Researchers learned that Prilosec in doses of 40 mg or higher boosted risk by 40%.
- Heart attack: Researchers studied 16 million medical documents for almost 3 million people. They concluded that risk of heart attack increased by 100% for PPI patients.
People who have liver problems should talk to their doctor before they take Prilosec. The drug can alter how your liver works. Your physician may opt for a smaller dose or could consider other drugs.
Asthma in Children
A clinical study in 2018 found a link between the use of PPIs during pregnancy and asthma in children. It looked at eight population-based reviews. Women who were on PPIs while they were pregnant had offspring with a higher risk of asthma. A study in 2017 also found results that were similar. Researchers studied the health records from 1.6 million patient. They learned that children that were born to others who had taken Prilosec or another PPI were at a higher risk for asthma. The threat was approximately ⅓ higher.
Childhood Bone Fractures
A clinical study in 2017 concluded there is a higher risk of bone fracture in children who are on Prilosec or similar drugs. Researchers studied the medical records of 875,000 children. They looked in particular at children who were on PPIs before the age of one. Scientists found those children had a 22% higher risk of bone fracture.
Dangerous Drug Interactions
Another danger of Prilosec is it can cause drug interactions with more than 150 drugs. AT least 29 of these medicines can cause serious reactions. FDA has advised patients to avoid using Prilosec OTC with certain prescription drugs. FDA issued a public health advisory about this subject in 2009 for Prilosec OTC. Drug interactions with this medicine can cause serious medical problems. It is advised to not take Prilosec OTC with:
- Plavix (clopidogrel)
- Pletal (cilostazol)
Prilosec can also reduce the benefits of certain HIV antiviral drugs and chemotherapy. You should speak to your physician about the medicines you take. Also, study the full list of possible drug interactions on the Prilosec label before you take it.
Have you or a loved one suffered from a severe health problem from taking Prilosec? The most common issues are renal and kidney failure, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, and acute interstitial nephritis. Do not hesitate to contact one of our defective drug lawyers for a free consultation. Our attorneys are fierce advocates for consumers’ right to safe, reliable drugs. We will pursue aggressive legal action against any negligent entity and hold them liable for your pain and suffering.
- Proton Pump Inhibitors and Prilosec. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.drugwatch.com/proton-pump-inhibitors/prilosec/