Proton Pump Inhibitors & Kidney Complications: Federal Multidistrict Litigation Set to Convene Initial Conference on September 12th

Published on August 22, 2017 by Sandy Liebhard

The federal court tapped to oversee pretrial proceedings for hundreds of kidney injury lawsuits involving Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors will convene its Initial Status Conference on September 12, 2017.

The federal proton pump inhibitor litigation was established earlier this month in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, so as to allow all federally-filed claims over the kidney kidney side effects allegedly related to long-term use of Nexium, Prilosec, PrevAcid, Dexilant, and Protonix to undergo coordinated discovery and other pretrial proceedings. At least 194 lawsuits are now pending in the litigation, all of which accuse the drugs’ manufacturers of concealing their alleged potential to cause kidney failure, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, acute interstitial nephritis,  and other renal complications.

U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi has been tapped to preside over the federal proton pump litigation. In an order issued last week, Judge Cecchi directed the parties to submit an Joint Agenda for the Initial Conference no later than September 8th.  Among other things, the Agenda is to include brief written statements indicating the parties’ understanding of the facts and critical legal issues in the litigation, as well as a list of all related proton pump inhibitor lawsuits pending in state or federal courts and the status of each case.

Kidney Complications Allegedly Linked to Proton Pump Inhibitors

Every year, millions of Americans opt to use Nexium or other proton pump inhibitors to eliminate heartburn symptoms associated with GERD and other acid-related digestive disorders. Because of their pervasive use, few people worry about the side effects potentially associated with these drugs. However, a growing body of research suggests that patients who use proton pump inhibitors over a long period of time may be more likely to develop kidney failure or other serious kidney complications.

In 2014, for example the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered proton pump inhibitor manufacturers to update their labels to include acute interstitial nephritis, a sudden inflammation of the kidney tubules, as a potential side effect. If not recognized and treated immediately, this condition can progress to chronic kidney disease and even kidney failure. However, no other potential kidney side effects are currently included on the labels for any of the drugs in this class.

In April 2016, research published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology suggested  that long-term proton pump inhibitor users were  96% more likely to develop kidney failure and 28% more likely to develop kidney disease compared to patients using another class of heartburn medications called H2-blockers.

Another study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2016 also suggested that Nexium and similar drugs might increase the risk of chronic kidney disease by as much as 50%.

Additional research has linked long-term proton pump inhibitor use to an increased risk of acute interstitial nephritis and acute kidney injury.

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