Advocacy for Pharmaceutical Injuries

Proton Pump Inhibitor Attorneys

About Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

The primary function of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is to reduce the production of gastric acid. As the most potent versions of acid secretion inhibition known today, PPIs affect pronounced results that are meant to be long-lasting. Individuals suffering from conditions such as Barrett’s esophagus, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease (PUD), Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, dyspepsia, and gastrinomas have been treated with PPIs. They have also been used to prevent the stress of gastritis for patients who suffer from this type of uncomfortable inflammation of the stomach. However, within the medical field it is a widely accepted fact that the use of PPIs may not be effective in every case and cannot produce reliable results every time. Additionally, the FDA soundly warns against using the devices more than three times a year.

Side Effects of Proton Pump Inhibitors

A big draw to the use of PPIs is the fact that few short-term effects have been recorded in incidence reports. However, in the long run, use of PPI drugs could be more detrimental than beneficial to some of the patients to whom the drug has been prescribed. Generally, short-term PPI use has not been linked to any serious side effects. However, patients who have taken PPIs for extended periods of time, usually for more than one year, may be at risk of bone fracture. The FDA therefore recommends no more than three 14-day treatment courses in a one-year time period.

One study of 135,000 people aged 50 or older found that those taking high doses of PPIs for more than one year were 2.6 times more likely to break a hip. Those taking lower doses of PPIs for one to four years were 1.2 to 1.6 times more likely to break a hip.

One theory associated with the increased risk of bone fracture is that the reduction of stomach acid may reduce the amount of calcium dissolved in the stomach. Another theory is that PPIs may cause decreased vitamin B12 absorption, which may increase bone fragility. Another theory is that PPIs may affect the normal breakdown and rebuilding of bone by interfering with the production of bone cells called osteoclasts.

Some of the lesser side effects that may be experienced while taking PPIs may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Flatulence
  • Constipation

Although the side effects of PPIs may be rare, they are serious in nature and when they occur they are often cause for alarm. Among the most severe of the potential risk hazards of proton pump inhibitors is the exacerbated effects they have on those who suffer from bone fractures and breaks. PPIs have also been reported as the cause for increased risks of GI bacterial infections. Other studies have found that daily use of a proton pump inhibitor drugs could result in diarrheal disease. The readiness with which many doctors approach usage of PPIs, particularly in cases of heartburn and dyspepsia greatly increases the potential for adverse side effects such as those described above.

The leading types of PPIs, taken orally as a pill or liquid, include:

  • Dexilant (Dexlansoprazole)
  • Nexium (Esomeprazole)
  • Prevacid (Lansoprazole)
  • Prilosec (Omeprazole)
  • Protonix (Pantoprazole)
  • Aciphex (Rabeprazole)

Dangers of Taking Proton Pump Inhibitors During Pregnancy

A recent study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania revealed that babies born to mothers who used PPIs during the first trimester of pregnancy were twice as likely to have congenital heart defects as children in the regular population. Specific defects include septal defects (holes in the heart) and left / right ventricular defects. The study examined 208,951 pregnancies and did not reveal the reason behind increased risks, but did find a clear correlation. Heartburn is a frequent occurrence during pregnancy. For that reason, doctors may prescribe PPIs to relieve it, or women may purchase over-the-counter drugs. The new study suggests other options for controlling symptoms should be used if at all possible.

The FDA categorizes drugs by their effect on fetuses in the following way:

  • The drug is completely safe for use during pregnancy;
  • The drug appears to be safe in animal studies but there is not enough human data available;
  • The effect of the drug on the fetus is not yet known; and
  • The use of the drug is unsafe for fetuses and may cause birth defects.

No Cost to You Unless We Win. Contact Our PPI Lawsuit Attorneys Today.

Drug side effects can be substantially life-altering for some, especially when the potential for risk outweighs the relief that certain prescription medications promise to the patients who use them. This is particularly true when the medications are overprescribed or wrongly prescribed to a patient who should not be taking them in the first place. At this point, the matter is no longer one of prescription medication use, but rather one of dangerous drug use. The professional team at Arnold & Itkin LLP has taken great strides to ensure that the victims of pharmaceutical errors and prescription accidents do not go unrepresented after their drug-related injury or illness. We firmly believe that the responsibility to produce and manufacture safe drugs free from life threatening side effects lies with the manufacturers and marketers of the product. Therefore, when individuals who have been wrongfully harmed through the use of their prescription medication seek our services, we are often eager to help.

We at Arnold & Itkin LLP can go to work on behalf of drug injury cases to see to it that patients are rightfully compensated for the wrongdoings they have suffered at the hands of their doctors and/ or prescription manufacturers. We have done just that for many of our personal injury clients, obtaining billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements.

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