Use of the proton pump inhibitor (PPI) heartburn medication Zegerid may increase the risk of acute interstitial nephritis (AIN), a condition that can lead to kidney failure if left untreated.
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Zegerid combines the acid-reducing PPI medication omeprazole with sodium bicarbonate, an antacid that helps absorption of the omeprazole. The drug is used for short-term treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and for gastric and duodenal ulcers. Zegerid is available both by prescription and over-the-counter (OTC), though the prescription and OTC forms are not considered equivalent.
What’s the Problem?
Omeprazole was first linked to acute interstitial nephritis in a report published in the American Journal of Medicine in 1992. Over the next decade, at least 17 additional reports of the condition were noted in the medical literature. Most patients developed symptoms of nephritis within 90 days of initiating treatment with the drug, and some went on to develop kidney failure as a result of their injuries. In December 2014, the FDA updated Zegerid warning labels to include information about acute interstitial nephritis.
What is AIN?
Acute interstitial nephritis is characterized by the presence of an inflammatory cell infiltrate in the interstitium of the kidney. The condition can lead to acute renal failure, and it is estimated that AIN may be the cause in up to 15% of patients hospitalized for kidney failure.
Patients with acute interstitial nephritis typically present with varying degrees of the following non-specific symptoms:
- Blood in the urine
- Increased or decreased urine output
- Mental status changes (drowsiness, confusion, coma)
- Nausea, vomiting
- Swelling of the bod (any area)
- Weight gain (from retaining fluid)
Although clinical and laboratory findings can be indicative of AIN, renal biopsy is the only way to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of acute interstitial nephritis involves addressing what’s causing the condition. If Zegerid is determined to be the likely cause, your doctor will likely recommend quitting the drug in favor of a heartburn medication with fewer side effects. However, you should never quit or switch medications without talking to your doctor first.
How Can PPIs Cause Nephritis?
The mechanism of PPI-induced nephritis is still not clearly understood, but an immunological response is suspected. Case reports demonstrate no relation between dosage, latency, time to recovery, age or gender, which supports the hypothesis that AIN is immunological.
Acute interstitial nephritis has been associated with the entire class of proton pump inhibitors, not just Zegerid. Other PPIs include: Nexium (esomeprazole), Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Aciphex (rabeprazole), Dexilant (dexlansoprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole) and Vimovo (esomeprazole and naproxen).
It is important for healthcare professionals to be aware of the link between PPIs and nephritis, because an accurate diagnosis and prompt withdrawal
of the offending drug may prevent kidney failure.
Do I Have a Zegerid 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 Zegerid lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new acute interstitial nephritis cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you developed nephritis after taking Zegerid, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.