Nexium Kidney Inflammation (Nephritis)

People who take Nexium may be at risk for a type of kidney inflammation called acute interstitial nephritis. This dangerous condition can cause kidney disease and renal failure if not recognized and treated.

Nexium and Acute Interstitial Nephritis

In 1992, the first report detailing a case of acute interstitial nephritis related to the use of Nexium was published in the American Journal of Medicine. In 1994, AstraZeneca disclosed that at least 15 cases of Nexium-related kidney inflammation had been reported worldwide.

In 2005, Austrian researchers reported on two additional cases, including one in which a 63-year-old man developed nephritis after using Nexium for just three weeks. The second patient required long-term dialysis.

In 2014, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) finally required AstraZeneca to add information about nephritis to the labels of Nexium and other prescription proton pump inhibitors. The agency did so in response to a petition filed by Public Citizen that demanded stronger warnings and patient medication guides for the entire class of heart burn drugs. Read More.

Less than a year later, a study published in CMAJ Open reported that seniors who began treatment with proton pump inhibitors were three times more likely to develop nephritis or other kidney complications compared to their peers who did not take the medications.

What is Acute Interstitial Nephritis?

Acute Interstitial nephritis is a sudden renal injury that results from swelling in between the kidney tubules. Swelling of the kidney tubules can cause a variety of symptoms that range from mild to severe:

  • Decreased urine output
  • Fever
  • Blood in urine
  • Exhaustion, fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Rash
  • Water retention resulting in weight gain
  • Swelling
  • Feeling bloated
  • Elevated blood pressure

Acute interstitial nephritis is generally the result of an allergic reaction to a medication, such as Nexium or another proton pump inhibitor. These reactions may be more severe in older adults. This patient population is also more likely to develop kidney disease or failure due to nephritis.

When acute interstitial nephritis is caused by a medication allergy, ending treatment with the drug may result in a complete return to normal kidney function. However, kidney damage can occur before the condition is diagnosed. If hospitalization is required, nephritis patients may be treated with intravenous fluids, corticosteroids, and dialysis. Symptoms of kidney failure occur in about 50% of victims.

Study Suggests Nexium in Combo With Other Meds Increases Nephritis Risk

A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology suggests that the risk of acute interstitial nephritis increases when proton pump inhibitors are taken with other medications that can be toxic to the kidneys. The authors of the study treated rats with Nexium or another proton pump inhibitor for 28 days. Some of the rats also received the painkiller Voltaren or the antibiotic Floxin. Rats who received only Nexium showed no signs of acute interstitial nephritis. However, those that received Nexium and Voltaren not only developed the disorder, but also exhibited structural changes and vascular damage that could progress to acute renal failure.  Read More

Legal Help for Victims of Nexium-Related Nephritis

Bernstein Liebhard LLP offers legal assistance to victims of Nexium kidney inflammation. To arrange for a free legal review of your case, please call (888) 994-5118.

  1. American Journal of Medicine (1992) “Acute interstitial nephritis due to omeprazole.”
  2. The Medical Journal of Australia (2005) “Acute interstitial nephritis secondary to esomeprazole”
  3. FDA (2015) “Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium) Delayed-Release Capsules, 20 mg and 40 mg; Delayed-Release Oral Suspension, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg”
  4. HealthLine (N.D.) “Interstitial Nephritis”
Last Modified: August 5, 2016

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