Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a class of medication used to treat a number of common abdominal conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach and duodenal ulcers, heartburn and erosive esophagitis. The medication works by obstructing the proton pump—an integral membrane protein—which then restricts or blocks the release of acid into a patient’s stomach. Common PPI medications include Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, Protonix, Dexilant and Aciphex.
Studies published over the past six years suggest that the extended use of PPI’s can cause the development of many serious health conditions including acute and chronic kidney disease, bone fractures, Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, and dementia.
In February of 2016, multiple reports were published linking PPIs to serious and life altering conditions. Research published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests a link between the use of PPI’s and the increased risk of chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease, or renal failure, develops as a result of repeated damage to the kidneys and effects a patient’s inability to filter metabolic products from the blood. This study, in addition to other similar findings, indicated that the greater the frequency and longevity of PPI use, the greater the risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
Another study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology, reported that seniors who took proton-pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec and AcipHex, were 44% more likely to develop dementia. According to the report, “73,679 participants 75 years of age or older and free of dementia at baseline were analyzed.” The patients who regularly received PPI medication had a significantly increased risk of dementia compared with the patients not taking PPI medication.
The FDA has issued several safety communication updates regarding this class of medication. This includes:
- Providing updated labeling information pertaining to the increased risk of bone fractures after extended PPI use
- Detailing the link between the use of PPI’s and lower magnesium levels
- Informing the public that the use of PPI’s may be associated with an increased risk of Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea
To date, the administration has declined to issue a “Black Box” warning for PPI medications. According to the FDA, this warning is reserved for prescription drugs that pose a significant risk of serious or life-threatening adverse effects, based on medical studies.
For more information regarding the risks associated with proton pump inhibitors, read here. If you or a loved one has taken PPI medications, such as Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, Protonix, Dexilant and Aciphex, and as a result suffered a bone fracture, Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea or have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease or dementia, contact the Law Offices of Peter Angelos to schedule a free legal consultation.