Update: PPI Kidney Injury Suits Centralized in New Jersey
August 4, 2017 – The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on Wednesday ordered that all federally-filed lawsuits involving kidney injuries from PPI heartburn drugs will be consolidated in the District of New Jersey for pretrial handling. The panel’s ruling marked an about-face from its previous opinion on the matter, having in February rejected a bid to create an MDL. The reason for the change was due to the litigation’s substantial increase in size since the initial ruling, and because 2 defendants who previously opposed centralization — AstraZeneca and Pfizer — are now in support of it, according to JPML.
What is Aciphex?
Aciphex is a delayed-release proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drug used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), duodenal ulcers, and when combined with antibiotics, for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterial infections in the stomach. The medication works by reducing acid produced by the stomach. Aciphex is made by Eisai Inc., and was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in February 2002.
PPI Heartburn Drugs Linked to Kidney Damage
In January 2016, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that proton pump inhibitor medications had been linked to long-term kidney damage. People who use the drugs have a 20-50% increased risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) compared to non-users or patients who took other types of heartburn medications, the researchers found.
The findings are troubling because proton pump inhibitors have previously been linked to short-term kidney problems such as acute kidney injury and inflammatory kidney disease (acute interstitial nephritis). PPIs are used by more than 15 million Americans each year, and up to 70% of prescriptions are handed out inappropriately, according to the study’s authors. As many as 25% of PPI users could stop taking the medications without suffering increased heartburn or acid reflux.
What is Chronic Kidney Disease?
According to the National Kidney Foundation, chronic kidney disease (CKD) occurs when the kidneys lose their ability to function gradually over time. As the disease worsens, wastes build up in the blood, resulting in complications including high blood pressure (hypertension), low blood count (anemia), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. CKD also increases your risk of developing heart and blood vessel damage. These problems tend to occur slowly over time.
Signs and symptoms of kidney disease may include:
- Changes in urination
- Swelling of the legs, ankles, feet, face and/or hands
- Skin rash / itching
- Metallic taste in the mouth / ammonia breath
- Nausea / vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling cold
- Dizziness / trouble concentrating
- Leg / flank pain
- 26 million adults in the U.S. currently have chronic kidney disease, and millions more are at an increased risk.
- Early detection can help prevent the progression of CKD to full-blown kidney failure.
- Heart disease is the primary cause of death for patients with kidney death.
- Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is the best estimate of kidney function.
- High blood pressure (hypertension) leads to CKD and kidney disease causes hypertension.
- High risk groups include those with diabetes, hypertension and a family history of kidney failure.
- African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians and senior citizens are at an increased risk for CKD.
- Blood pressure, urine albumin and serum creatinine tests can help detect kidney disease.
Study Finds Increased Risk of Death with PPI Heartburn Medications
July 5, 2017 – Proton pump inhibitors have been linked to a 25% greater risk of death compared to patients who took H2 blockers, according to a study published Monday in BMJ. The study also found that PPI use was linked to a 15% increased death rate compared to patients who took another kind of acid suppressor other than H2 blockers, and that the death rate was 23% higher among PPI users compared to people who took no such medications.
PPIs Linked to Increased Risk of Pneumonia in Dementia Patients
April 5, 2017 – Dementia patients who take proton pump inhibitors have an 89% increased risk of developing pneumonia compared to dementia patients who don’t use the medications, according to a study published last month in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Independent risk factors for pneumonia included age, male gender, underlying cerebrovascular disease, chronic pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus, and antipsychotic use.
PPIs Linked to Increased Risk for Heart Failure, Death
March 23, 2017 – Proton pump inhibitor heartburn medicines have been linked to an increased risk for heart failure and death in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a recent study published in PLOS ONE. The researchers found that PPIs are commonly used to prevent complications in CAD patients treated with chronic antiplatelet therapy (aspirin, Plavix, Effient); however, when used in this capacity, proton pump inhibitors may increase the risk of adverse health consequences including pneumonia, micronutrient deficiencies, and osteoporosis-related fractures.
Aciphex linked to Stomach Infections
January 6, 2017 – People who use PPIs like Aciphex may be at an increased risk of developing severe gut infections, according to a new study. The research, published Thursday in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, found that among 565,000 adults, patients who took proton pump inhibitors had higher rates of infection with C. difficile and Campylobacter bacteria compared to those who didn’t use the drugs.
Aciphex Side Effects May Include Rhabdomyolysis, Case Report Finds
September 26, 2016 – A case report published last month in Medicine suggests that an intravenous dose of the proton pump inhibitor Nexium (esomeprazole) may have caused a patient to develop rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly. Over time, rhabdomyolysis can lead to kidney damage and renal failure, side effects that have previously been linked to the use of PPIs.
Proton Pump Inhibitors Linked to Brain Problems, Study Finds
September 1, 2016 – PPI heartburn drugs like Aciphex may increase the risk of loss of brain function and fluid buildup in the abdomen, according to a new study published in Hepatology. The study’s authors determined that 52% of patients took a PPI during clinical trials, and these patients had a 31% 1-year risk for loss of brain function (hepatic encephalopathy or “HE”).
“Our findings suggest that prescription of PPIs to patients with cirrhosis at risk of HE needs an appropriate indication,” said Dr. Gitte Dam at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, lead author of the study.
PPIs Linked to Cardiovascular Complications, Study Finds
August 19, 2016 – Aciphex and other proton pump inhibitors may cause cardiovascular complications in patients with heart disease, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Cardiology. PPI users were 6 times more likely to suffer from anemia and a worsening metabolic profile, the study found. The researchers concluded that prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors was associated with a worsening of red blood count indexes, lower weight and underutilization of cardioprotective medications.
Study Links Heartburn Drugs to CKD, Kidney Failure
April 14, 2016 – Long-term use of Aciphex or other proton pump inhibitor (PPI) heartburn medication could lead to kidney damage and even kidney failure, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The findings were reached after researchers analyzed large collections of patient data from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) national databases.
“A lot of patients start taking PPIs for a medical condition, and they continue much longer than necessary,” said Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, lead author and nephrologist with the VA Saint Louis Health Care System in Missouri.
Is There a Class Action?
No. Aciphex lawsuits are being filed individually and there is not expected to be a class action filed in the litigation. At some point in the future, the complaints may be consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL), which occurs when a defendant or defendants have caused similar harm to different people in different ways. In these cases, pursuing individual claims separately is often inefficient, and the respective damages to the plaintiffs are unique to the point of a class action not being appropriate.
Do I Have an Aciphex Lawsuit?
The Class Action Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Aciphex lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you suffered a kidney injury from Aciphex, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.