A new study reveals that some heartburn drugs can increase a user’s risk of death by 25 percent, putting the lives of millions of Americans at risk.
The drugs, called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), suppress excess acid in the stomach to prevent or treat heartburn and stomach ulcers. Some popular PPI medications include Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid, which are available by prescription and over the counter.
When a drug puts a person at unnecessary risk of harm even after it has been approved by the FDA, a defective drug lawyer may be able to help. We can help you hold the drugs’ manufacturers liable for your injuries by pursuing compensation through a proton pump inhibitor lawsuit for the damages you have suffered.
PPIs Compared to H2 Blockers
The observational PPI study was completed by researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and published in the British Medical Journal Open.
Researchers reviewed data on nearly 3.5 million people from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. They compared death rates of patients who used PPIs with patients who took H2 blockers, a different type of drug that helps reduce stomach acid, and those who took neither medication.
They specifically looked at patients who had a prescription for a PPI between October 2006 and September 2008 and tracked each for nearly six years until 2013 or until the person died, whichever occurred first.
Researchers found a 25 percent increased risk of death for the patients who had a prescription for a PPI compared to patients who took an H2 blocker. They also found that the longer patients took PPIs, the higher their risk of early death.
Researchers are unclear why there were more deaths with PPIs than with the H2 blockers but could not deny the link. They warn, however, that because this was an observational study, no firm conclusions can be drawn regarding cause and effect. Furthermore, they were not able to identify the causes of death.
However, they note that the growing body of evidence linking PPIs to dangerous side effects is important and should be taken into consideration when prescribing these medications.
Other PPI Side Effects
Other studies have linked PPIs to a host of other dangers, including:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Renal disease
- Heart disease
- C difficile infections
- Bone fractures
Although the risks of PPI are very serious, it is not recommended that people who currently use PPIs suddenly stop. Patients should discuss the risks and benefits of the drugs with their doctors and determine what is the best course of treatment based on their individual circumstances. Doctors may suggest other ways to reduce heartburn and related conditions that do not pose the same potential risks as PPIs.
Contact a Defective Drugs Lawyer
If you believe that you or a loved one has been adversely affected by a defective drug, contact an experienced defective drugs lawyer. Janet, Janet & Suggs offers a free, no obligation consultation where we can discuss your case and possible legal strategy.
Our reputable personal injury lawyers are paid on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay unless you recover a verdict or settlement. We will work diligently on your case to help you recover the compensation you need and deserve after being injured by a harmful drug.