Anti-heartburn drugs like Prevacid are associated with many side effects that can lead to kidney failure, including nephritis (kidney inflammation) and chronic kidney disease.
Need a Texas Prevacid Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with kidney failure, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit.
Prevacid and Kidney Failure
Prevacid contains lansoprazole, an antacid medication in the proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) class. All drugs in this class have been linked to renal diseases that can cause kidney failure.
How Could PPIs Cause Kidney Failure?
There are several theories as to why PPIs are associated with kidney failure. One explanation is that they lower magnesium levels, which can damage the kidneys. Another theory is that repeated bouts of nephritis can progressively damage the kidneys over time.
Evidence Linking PPIs and Kidney Disease
Evidence linking Prevacid and acute interstitial nephritis has been growing for more than a decade. However, it was not until December 2014 that the FDA added a section to the label to include stronger warnings about sudden inflammation and swelling in the kidneys.
In April 2015, a study by Canadian researchers found that PPI users were 3-times more likely to develop nephritis and 2.5-times more likely to develop an acute kidney injury. In January 2016, a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that people who used PPIs every day were 20-50% more likely to develop Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
Study Links Prevacid and 96% Increased Risk of Kidney Failure
The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology published a study in April 2016 that linked PPIs with a 26% increased risk of chronic kidney disease and a 96% increased risk of kidney failure. The researchers based their conclusions on 5-years of data from 170,000 U.S. veterans who used PPIs and 20,000 who used antacids in the H2-blocker class like Pepcid or Zantac.
End-stage kidney failure only occurred in 0.2% of study participants, but twice as often in PPI users. At the end of the follow-up period, 15% of PPI users were diagnosed with kidney disease. People who used PPIs for 1-2 years were 3X more likely to develop kidney failure than people who only used them for a month or less.
Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, lead author of the study, warned:
“I think people see these medications at the drug store and assume they’re completely safe. But there’s growing evidence they’re not as safe as we’ve thought. [Patients should] use PPIs only when it is medically necessary, and should limit duration of exposure to the minimum necessary to treat the underlying medical condition.”
What is the problem?
Nephritis and kidney disease are reversible conditions when they are diagnosed early. However, the kidneys can be permanently damaged when a patient remains on a medication that is causing kidney problems. About half of people with nephritis develop symptoms of kidney failure. Long-term kidney disease can also permanently decrease renal function and cause complications in nearly every part of the body.
Symptoms of Kidney Failure
The kidneys clean the blood, remove excess fluids and wastes in urine, make hormones that keep bones strong, regulate blood pressure, and perform other essential functions. When they stop working properly, the following symptoms may appear:
- High blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased urine output
- Fluid retention (swelling in legs and feet)
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and vomiting
- Seizures or coma
- Chest pain
- Persistent itching and dry skin
- Muscle cramps or twitching
Diagnosis & Treatment
The stage of kidney failure is diagnosed with a blood test to check for wastes. High levels of creatinine and blood-urea nitrogen (BUN) are a sign of kidney disease. Low glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is another symptom. Patients with nephritis may need a biopsy for a conclusive diagnosis.
Treatment for kidney failure begins with discontinuing any medications that are causing kidney problems. Patients on Prevacid will likely need to switch to another antacid. They may also need to take medications that decrease blood pressure. When the kidneys have failed and stop working, the only treatments are dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Need a Prevacid Lawyer in Texas?
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