A Pennsylvania man has joined the growing litigation involving proton pump inhibitors, filing a federal lawsuit after he allegedly developed chronic kidney disease due to his use of Nexium.
In his November 21st filing with the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, James Marzec claims that AstraZeneca failed to warn patients and doctors that Nexium could harm the kidneys, leading to life-long and permanent injuries. (Case No. 2:17-cv-11922)
According to his complaint, Marzec was first prescribed Nexium in 2012, and continued to use it consistently through 2013.
“As a result of using Defendants’ Nexium, Plaintiff suffers from stage three chronic kidney disease,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff sustained severe and permanent personal injuries, pain, suffering, economic loss, and emotional distress.”
Marzec’s lawsuit further asserts that he never would have used Nexium had he or his doctor been warned of its potential to cause chronic kidney disease and other serious renal side effects.
“To this day, Defendants deny that Nexium can cause CKD and actively conceal their knowledge relating to the true risks of CKD and other kidney injury related to the use of Nexium,” the complaint charges.
“Defendants, through their affirmative misrepresentations and omissions, actively concealed from Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s prescribing physicians the true and significant risks associated with the use of Nexium.”
In 2013, more than 15 million Americans turned to prescription proton pump inhibitors to relieve symptoms associated with GERD and other peptic disorders. Millions of others have taken over-the-counter versions.
By some estimates, up to 70% of proton pump inhibitor prescriptions lack an appropriate indication. Many patients also take the drugs for far longer than recommended, often not realizing that they are indicated for only short-term treatment.
Nexium is one of the most well-known and popular drugs in the proton pump inhibitor class. It is AstraZeneca’s largest-selling drug, as well as the third largest-selling globally.
In 2005, AstraZeneca’s sales of Nexium exceeded $5.7 billion. In 2008, its sales exceeded $5.2 billion.
Marzec’s Nexium lawsuit is just one of the most recent cases to be filed in the District of New Jersey, where all federally-filed kidney injury claims involving proton pump inhibitors have been centralized for coordinated pretrial proceedings. As of November 15th, at least 315 lawsuits were pending in the New Jersey against the manufacturers of Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, and Dexilant.
In recent years, a growing number of studies have suggested that long-term proton pump inhibitor treatment can harm the kidneys.
In 2014, for example, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered proton pump inhibitor manufacturers to add mention of acute interstitial nephritis to the drugs’ labels. This condition is marked by a sudden inflammation of the kidney tubules, that if not recognized and treated immediately, can progress to chronic kidney disease and even kidney failure.
In April 2016, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology published research tying long-term proton pump inhibitor use to a 96% increase in the risk for kidney failure and a 28% higher risk for chronic kidney disease compared another class of heartburn medications called H2-blockers.
Another study published in the January 2016 issue JAMA Internal Medicine suggested that long-term proton pump inhibitor treatment increased the risk of chronic kidney disease by as much as 50%.