(NewsReady.com) – The medications Prilosec and Nexium were heavily advertised on television for years, reaching millions. Commercials promised the drugs would help take away heartburn. Lawsuits claim the meds were also taking away kidney function. Now, the company has settled more than 10,000 claims.
On October 3, pharma company AstraZeneca announced it entered into settlement agreements in cases related to Prilosec and Nexium. Approximately 11,000 lawsuits were filed against the company in the US amid allegations that the medications cause long-term kidney damage. Like other drugs classified as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), plaintiffs have said the company didn’t warn consumers about the side effects.
A 2017 article published by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis stated that the use of PPI medications is linked to kidney problems, including failure. Experts said the damage is often “silent.” Researchers studied 125,000 patients who took the medications. More than half of the patients who experienced kidney issues had no history of kidney problems before they started taking the heartburn drug.
The drug maker didn’t admit to wrongdoing when it settled the 11,000 or so suits for $425 million. Instead, AstraZeneca released a statement saying it believes the “claims are without merit and admits no wrongdoing in the settlement agreement.” The company stated that it did so because it wanted to “avoid continued costly litigation” and continue to provide medications to people across the globe.
There is still one outstanding lawsuit against the company. It will go to trial in the US District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana on April 15, 2024.
Currently, there is no definitive link between PPIs and chronic kidney disease. However, experts have urged doctors to pay special attention to a patient’s kidney function if they are using heartburn medications. Patients should also be aware of the potential risks when taking the drugs.
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