New Studies Shed Light on Potential Proton Pump Inhibitor Side Effects

Published on April 5, 2017 by Laurie Villanueva

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Two new studies are raising more concern about the complications and side effects potentially associated with the use of proton pump inhibitors, such as Nexium, Prilosec and PrevAcid.

Proton Pump Inhibitors Linked to Pneumonia in Dementia Patients

The first study was conducted by researchers at Chung Shan Medical University in Taichung, China, who were investigating proton pump inhibitor usage among dementia patients and the risk of the pneumonia. According to a paper they published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, their retrospective cohort study consisted of 786 dementia patients with new proton pump inhibitor usage and 786 matched dementia patients who had not taken the drugs.

“Incidence of pneumonia was higher among patients with PPI usage (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 1.89; 95% CI = 1.51–2.37),” the study authors wrote.

H2 blockers (a class of heartburn drugs that includes Zantac and Tagamet, among other) were associated with a lower risk of pneumonia, as were certain Alzheimer’s medications. Age, male gender, underlying cerebrovascular disease, chronic pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus, and antipsychotic use were all independent risk factors for pneumonia

Proton Pump Inhibitors and C. Diff

Another study published last month in JAMA Internal Medicine  has suggested that people who take heart burn drugs, including proton pump inhibitors, may be more likely to develop a dangerous gastrointestinal infection called C. difficile (C. diff). The authors of the research performed a metanalysis of 16 previously-published studies that involved more than 7,700 patients with C. diff., 19.8% of whom experienced recurrent infections. Those who took proton pump inhibitors or H2 blockers reported a 22.1% rate of recurrence. However, only 17.3% of patients who weren’t taking the medications had recurrent infections.

“It may be reasonable to re-evaluate the need for these medications in patients with CDI,” the paper concluded.

Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuits

The publication of these new studies come as dozens of people pursue lawsuits over kidney complications allegedly related to their proton pump inhibitor use.  The litigation began to grow after a series of studies suggested long-term treatment with these drugs could increase an individual’s risk for acute interstitial nephritis, chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury and kidney failure. In addition to citing this growing body of research, the complaints claim that proton pump inhibitor manufacturers have long been aware that their products could harm the kidneys. Yet patients or doctors have never been provided with sufficient warnings regarding these risks.

Bernstein Liebhard LLP is actively filing kidney damage lawsuits involving Nexium, Prilosec and PrevAcid. To learn more, please contact our office at (888) 994-5118.

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