Patients who take proton pump inhibitors like Nexium may face a higher risk of ischemic stroke, according to the results of a new study. The authors of the research, who presented their data this week at a medical conference in New Orleans, cautioned that the findings raise new concerns about the cardiovascular side effects potentially associated with the popular heartburn drugs.
“PPIs have been associated with unhealthy vascular function, including heart attacks, kidney disease and dementia,” the Danish Heart Foundation’s Dr. Thomas Sehested, lead author of the study, told CNN. “We wanted to see if PPIs also posed a risk for ischemic stroke, especially given their increasing use in the general population.”
He and his team examined medical records of 250,000 patients who had been diagnosed with gastric ailments, and who were taking Nexium, Prevacid, Protonix or Prilosec. Overall, patients taking a proton pump inhibitor were 21% more likely to suffer a first-time ischemic stroke. The risk was minimal to non-existent for patients taking low doses of the drugs. However, high doses of Prilosec increased risk by 33%, while high doses of Protonix were associated with a 50% risk. The highest doses of Nexium appeared to raise first-time ischemic stroke risk by 50%.
In 2013, more than 15 million Americans used prescription proton pump inhibitors, at a cost of more than $10 billion. However, it has been estimated that between 25% and 70% of these prescriptions have no appropriate indication. Concerns are mounting that the drugs are being overused.
Additional studies have suggested that proton pump inhibitors may increase a patient’s risk for other health problems, including C. diff infections, dementia, heart attacks, and most recently, kidney ailments.
Court documents indicate that more than a dozen Nexium lawsuits and other legal claims have been filed this year in U.S. courts on behalf of patients who allegedly developed chronic kidney disease, kidney failure and other renal complications due to their use of the medications. Last month, a motion was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation by plaintiffs seeking to have the federal docket centralized in a single U.S. District Court for coordinate pretrial proceedings.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is representing Nexium lawsuit plaintiffs. If you were diagnosed with a serious kidney injury following the use of any proton pump inhibitor, please call (888) 994-8177.