A recent lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of New York alleges the popular heartburn medication Nexium caused an acute kidney injury. The plaintiff began taking Nexium in October 2006 and continued to take the drug until April 2016. The plaintiff was prescribed the drug to help manage his gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, and his nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug induced gastropathy.
GERD is a digestive disorder in which stomach acid rises up to the esophagus and causes chronic burn. When not treated properly, GERD can cause patients to develop ulcers.
Nexium is part of a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that are designed to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach thereby preventing stomach acid from damaging the lining of the esophagus.
While Nexium and other PPIs have been a popular way to treat heartburn, a recent study published in February in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that PPIs may be linked to an increased risk of chronic kidney disease or kidney failure.
Another study published just two months later in the Journal of the American Society of Nephology found patients who took PPIs had a 28% higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease over patients who took another class of heartburn medications.
Chronic kidney disease is the gradual loss of function in the kidneys eventually leading to kidney failure. For many patients, filtering of the blood through dialysis or a complete kidney transplant will be necessary to manage the condition.
The lawsuits allege Nexium’s manufacturer received reports the drug was damaging patients’ kidneys as far back as 2004, but the company did not change its labeling to warn patients of the risks.
This is not the only case filed against Nexium and its manufacturer over failure to warn, and it is anticipated more lawsuits will follow.