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Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid Claims

Lawsuits allege kidney failure is linked to heartburn drugs, Prevacid, Nexium, Prilosec and others in MDL 2789 before Judge  Claire C. Cecchi allege. MDL – Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.  CBS News uncovered the link: Heartburn drugs including Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid linked with …

Plaintiffs claim taking multiple daily doses of the drugs for over a year may have an increased risk of kidney injuries including:

  • Acute Interstitial Nephritis (AIN)
    Acute Tubular Necrosis (ATN)
    Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)
    Acute Kidney Failure (AKF)
  • Chronic Renal/Kidney Failure
    End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)
    Permanent Dialysis
    Death – Renal Failure

Included are prescription, over the counter (OTC) and generics:

  • Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix
    Dexilant / Kapidex, Aciphex, Zegerid, Vimovo
  • Prilosec OTC, Nexium 24HR, Prevacid 24HR, Zegerid OTC
    Store brands: Equate, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, etc.

 Kidney Function Studies

  • A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2016 noted a 20-50 percent increased risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) associated with proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium. The risk of a decline in kidney function was 32 percent higher for people taking PPIs
  • Another clinical study early in 2016  published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) noted that patients who consume PPIs are more likely to develop kidney failure, with 28 percent of patients more likely to develop chronic kidney disease. Prolonged use only serves to increase those odds.
  • In a recent study, the use of PPIs for any period of time, was shown to increase the risk of CKD by 10%. A meta-analysis that was recently published in 2017 indicated that there was a significantly increased risk of CKD associated with use of PPI’s in the absence of intervening acute kidney injury.  Currently, the Nexium product labeling does not contain any warning regarding the increased risk of CKD.

Nexium is manufactured by AstraZeneca as it’s largest-selling drug. In 2008, Nexium sales exceeded $5.2 billion.The lawsuits against Nexium maker, ASTRAZENECA PHARMACEUTICALS LP and ASTRAZENECA LP, allege negligent and wrongful conduct in connection with the design, development, manufacture, testing, packaging, promoting, marketing, distribution, labeling and/or sale Nexium and/or other Nexium-branded products: Delayed-Release Capsule Pellets and Delayed-Release Oral Suspension Packets.

Science: Proton Pump Inhibitors – PPIs

Proton pump inhibitors (“PPIs”) treat conditions such as:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD”);
  • dyspepsia;
  • acid peptic disease;
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome;
  • acid reflux; and
  • peptic or stomach ulcers.

Nexium works by inhibiting the secretion of stomach acid. It shuts down acid production of the active acid pumps in the stomach thereby reducing hydrochloric acid in the stomach. The drug binds with the proton pump which inhibits the ability of the gastric parietal cell to secrete gastric acid. Hundreds of reports of injury have been submitted to the FDA regarding the ingestion of Nexium and other PPIs. Defendants have received numerous case reports of several types of kidney injuries in patients who ingested Nexium, including: Acute Interstitial Nephritis (“AIN”); Chronic Kidney Disease (“CKD”); Renal/Kidney Failure; and Acute Kidney Injury (“AKI”). However, Astra Zeneca took no action to inform the public or physicians of any risk of kidney injuries.

Acute Interstitial Nephritis – AIN

Acute Interstitial Nephritis (“AIN”) is the inflammation of the tubes and tissues of the kidneys. The most common symptoms of AIN are fatigue, nausea and weakness. Symptoms related to AIN can begin as soon as one week following PPI ingestion. The risk of AIN among PPI users was first raised in 1992. Five years later, an additional study again raised concerns about AIN. Between 2004 and 2007, at least three additional studies confirmed AIN related to PPI usage. More recent studies reveal that those using PPIs such as Nexium are at a three times (3 X) greater risk than the general population to suffer AIN. By July 2011, the World Health Organization adverse drug reaction report included nearly 500 cases of AIN already reported that year, however Defendants still did not warn the physicians or patients, including Plaintiff, of the risks of AIN associated with use of Nexium.

On or about October 30, 2014, the FDA notified Defendants that it had determined that PPIs, including Nexium, pose additional risks not previously disclosed by Defendants.

 On December 19, 2014, labeling for PPIs was updated to include a warning about AIN. The new label added, for the first time, a section about AIN that read, in relevant part, that AIN “may occur at any point during PPI therapy.”However, the current warning regarding the risk of AIN is far from adequate, lacking the necessary force and specificity to give patients and their healthcare providers the proper information needed to make an informed decision about whether to start or continue a drug regimen with the potential for such dire consequences.

Chronic Kidney Disease – CKD

Chronic Kidney Disease (“CKD”) is the gradual loss of kidney function. Kidneys filter waste and excess fluid from the blood, which are then excreted. When CKD reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and waste can build up in the body. In the early stages of CKD, patients may have few signs or symptoms. CKD may not become apparent until kidney function is significantly impaired. Treatment for CKD focuses on slowing the progression of kidney damage, usually by attempting to control the underlying cause. CKD can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which can be fatal absent artificial filtering, dialysis or a kidney transplant. Early treatment is often the key to avoiding the most negative outcomes. CKD is associated with a substantially increased risk of death and cardiovascular events. Recent studies have shown the long term use of PPIs was independently associated with a 20% to 50% higher risk of CKD, after adjusting for several potential confounding variables, including demographics, socioeconomic status, clinical measurements, prevalent co-morbidities, and concomitant use of medications.

Acute Kidney Injury  – AKI

Recent studies indicate that those using PPIs such as Nexium are at a more than 2.5 times greater risk than the general population to suffer Acute Kidney Injury (“AKI”). Recent studies also indicated that those who develop AIN are at a significant risk of AKI even though they may not obviously exhibit kidney dysfunction. Currently, the Nexium product labeling does not contain any warning regarding the increased risk of AKI.

Safer Alternatives to PPIs

Despite the fact that Nexium and other PPIs lead to an increased risk of numerous injuries, several safer alternatives are available, including but not limited to:

  1. The use of over-the-counter calcium carbonate remedies tablets that have been available since the 1930s, such as Maalox and Tums; and/or
  2. The use of histamine H2-receptor antagonists (also known as H2 blockers) that were developed in the late 1960s. H2 blockers act to prevent the production of stomach acid and work more quickly than PPIs and are prescribed for the same indications as PPI’s. Examples of H2 blockers include Zantac, Pepcid and Tagamet. H2 receptor antagonists are not associated with an increased risk of renal injuries.

AstraZeneca knew or should have known about the correlation between the use of Nexium and the significantly increased risks of AIN, CKD, AKI and other renal impairment and failed to adequately warn of these risks from ingestion of Nexium, including the negative effects on the kidney.

By omitting, concealing, and inadequately providing critical safety information regarding the increased risk of kidney injuries with the use of Nexium to the public and healthcare providers, AstraZeneca engaged in, and continue to engage in, conduct likely to mislead consumers and healthcare providers. This conduct is fraudulent, unfair and unlawful and caused plaintiffs to sustain severe and permanent personal injuries, pain, suffering, economic loss, and emotional distress.

Contact Us for a Free Medical Legal Consultation

If you or a loved one has suffered from kidney failure after taking prolonged doses of Prevacid, Prilosec or Nexium, contact us for a free medical legal consultation at, call 1-800-814-4540 or fill out the contact form.

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