Like every other proton pump inhibitor drug, Prevacid has been associated with an alarming risk of progressive kidney disorders. Some patients may be eligible to secure compensation:

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Takeda Pharmaceutical’s popular heartburn drug Prevacid has been associated with an increased risk of kidney damage, including chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. Hundreds of patients have already filed suit over the risk, accusing Takeda and other pharmaceutical manufacturers of concealing serious medical complications from the public.

Prevacid, Once A Blockbuster, Under Fire In New Lawsuits

While the proton pump inhibitor market is largely dominated by AstraZeneca’s Nexium, a number of other players have entered the fray, offering “acid suppression” medications of their own. Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ entrant, Prevacid, is based on the active ingredient lansoprazole, a chemical believed to reduce the amount of gastric acid secreted in the intestines.

Like Nexium, Prilosec and other competitors, Prevacid provides short-term relief for numerous gastrointestinal disorders that have, at their root, excessive stomach acid.

Prescription & OTC Versions Drive Revenue

At one time, BioSpace writes, Prevacid was America’s third best-selling drug, drawing in nearly $3.2 billion in revenue on an annual basis for manufacturer Takeda. Competition from generic products, however, has eaten up more and more of Takeda’s once-enviable market share. The company lost its patent protection on lansoprazole in 2009, fourteen years after the chemical was first approved for sale in the United States.

Alongside the prescription version of Prevacid, you’ve probably also come across Prevacid 24HR, an over-the-counter version of the drug in a lower dose. Prevacid24HR isn’t actually made by Takeda, today Japan’s largest pharmaceutical conglomerate. Novartis, a Swiss drugmaker, is responsible for Prevacid OTC, licensing the Prevacid brand name from Takeda.

“Inappropriate” PPI Use Is Cause For Concern

Prevacid is approved for the treatment of many gastrointestinal conditions:

Despite these fairly-broad approvals, Prevacid and other proton pump inhibitor drugs have come into wider use for numerous unapproved (or off-label) indications.

In a 2017 paper for BioMed Central, doctors at Northwestern University criticize “widespread inappropriate PPI use,” noting, in particular, a growing list of medical risks and complications associated with long-term use of the drugs. Earlier, we mentioned that Prevacid can provide effective short-term relief of gastrointestinal symptoms. That’s largely true, but long-term use appears to be a different story.

Long-Term Use Could Pose Serious Consequences

In recent years, researchers have learned some troubling facts about people who take proton pump inhibitors for extended periods of time, along with in higher dosages. To date, long-term use of PPI drugs has been associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis (and osteoporosis-linked bone fractures), dementia, nutrient deficiencies and certain life-threatening infections.

Prevacid & Kidney Disease

The largest source of potential complications, however, seems to involve the kidney. Decades ago, scientists noticed that people who take PPI drugs, like Prevacid, are more likely to suffer acute interstitial nephritis, a form of allergic reaction that results in kidney swelling. That’s why Prevacid’s warning label notes prominently that “acute interstitial nephritis has been observed in patients taking PPIs.”

But the risks don’t seem to end there. More recent studies have linked Prevacid to even more serious kidney-related complications, including chronic kidney disease.

Medical Studies Identify Renal Side Effects

The first link in the story, however, comes with acute kidney injury, a sudden-onset disorder in which the kidneys stop functioning, posing serious risks to patient health. Since at least 2002, researchers have suspected that proton pump inhibitors, either by themselves or by causing acute interstitial nephritis, can lead to sudden episodes of kidney failure.

Subsequent analysis has borne this worry out. A 2017 meta-analysis of seven relevant papers found that, when the results of each study were combined, PPI users appeared to be 61% more likely to suffer acute kidney injuries than members of the general populations.

Long-Term Kidney Problems

Acute kidney injuries are one thing. It’s a serious condition, one that can have long-lasting complications but, with proper medical treatment, is reversible in many cases. Chronic kidney disease, on the other hand, is far more severe.

Acute kidney injuries are usually caused by sudden changes that impair kidney function, WebMD reports, like dehydration, blood loss or prescription drugs. In contrast, chronic kidney disease is normally the result of long-term disorders, like diabetes, that gradually wear down the kidney’s ability to filter waste from the body. Could proton pump inhibitors cause chronic kidney disease, too, in addition to acute injuries?

50% Increased Risk For Chronic Kidney Disease

A pathbreaking paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association expanded our understanding of the problem further. In their analysis, a team from Yale and Johns Hopkins found that, among 10,482 patients, people who took a proton pump inhibitor were at least 50% more likely to develop chronic kidney disease.

Even more telling, the risk of chronic kidney disease, in which kidney function gradually deteriorates, jumped even higher for people who took two doses a day.

Lawsuits Accuse Takeda Of Concealing Risks

This damning evidence has been ignored by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, according to a series of new lawsuits filed against the company. You won’t find chronic kidney disease or kidney failure, the tragic result of many CKD cases, mentioned anywhere on Prevacid’s warning label. And now, hundreds of patients are pursuing the manufacturers of proton pump inhibitor drugs in court, accusing some of the world’s largest companies of concealing these alleged risks from physicians and patients.

To date, over 600 injured patients and families have filed federal proton pump inhibitor lawsuits, demanding financial compensation for their claimed injuries. The majority of these claims are now consolidated in a New Jersey federal court. As a Multi-District Litigation, the federal lawsuits will move through pre-trial proceedings (like the discovery phase, in which evidence is gathered) as a group.