Nexium Side Effects
Nexium, a top-selling proton pump inhibitor used to treat heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), has been linked to an increased risk of bone fractures and long-term kidney damage, among other serious side effects. Attorneys have been investigating cases alleging that drug maker AstraZeneca failed to adequately warn consumers about esomeprazole risks, leaving millions of patients vulnerable to preventable harm.
Under law, pharmaceutical manufacturers are obligated to label their products properly, whether sold over-the-counter or by prescription only. When known adverse side effects aren’t fully disclosed or are negligently concealed by Big Pharma, patients who suffer injuries and financial losses may have a legal claim for damages.
What are the side effects of Nexium?
Nexium has been aggressively marketed as a convenient treatment for a range of maladies, including acid reflux, ulcers, persistent heartburn and erosive esophagitis. Touted as the “healing purple pill,” esomeprazole comes in capsules and intravenous powder for IV administration.
The most common side effects of Nexium include:
- Stomach pain
- Dry mouth
- Skin rashes
Patients are advised to seek medical attention should any of the following side effects present:
- Peeling or blistering of the skin
- Mood changes
- Yellow eyes or skin
- Edema of the eyelids, lips or tongue
- Severe joint pain
- Muscle spasms
- Unusual fatigue
Nexium long term side effects
- Taking Nexium for a long period of time can increase chances of inflammation to the stomach lining, cautions Astra Zeneca.
- This side effect may not have immediate symptoms, but patients are encouraged to talk to their doctors if they experience severe abdominal pain accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or sudden weight loss.
Nexium kidney damage
While all medications carry some risk of side effects, emerging research on proton pump inhibitors suggests that heartburn sufferers should think twice before popping their daily antacid pill, as long-term use can lead to irreversible kidney problems. The study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, looked at roughly 200,000 patients within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs system. The research showed that individuals who took PPIs had a staggering 96 percent increased risk of developing kidney failure and a 25 percent higher risk of chronic kidney disease.
A separate study on PPIs at Johns Hopkins University found similar results. The researchers analyzed patients who were taking PPIs once or twice daily to remedy GERD symptoms. The results: twice-daily users had a nearly 50 percent higher risk for developing chronic kidney disease, and once-daily users had a 15 percent heightened risk.
In light of these alarming health hazards, some gastroenterologists are sounding the alarm on proton pump inhibitor dangers, especially given their widespread use by an estimated 15 million Americans. Patients who suffer from chronic acid reflux or other gastrointestinal issues may consider H2 blockers, which have a better safety profile.
Nexium and bone loss
In 2010, the FDA reviewed several studies regarding long-term use of proton pump inhibitors and a causal relationship with bone fractures. Based on the research findings, health regulators revised the labels for both over-the-counter and prescription PPIs (such as Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid and others) to include safety information about the increased risk of fractures of the spine, hip and wrist. According to the research, which looked at patients who took the medication for a year or more or at high doses, individuals aged 50 and older were most susceptible to Nexium bone fractures. Those who took PPIs in moderate doses for prolonged periods had a 30 percent greater likelihood of suffering fractures; this risk jumped to 53 percent with higher dosages.
Esomeprazole works by blocking acid production in the stomach. It’s now understood that suppressing stomach acid production over a long period may reduce the absorption of magnesium and calcium, which are crucial for healthy bone growth and development. This means that people who use proton pump inhibitors over many years have lower calcium absorption rates and calcium deficiency, making them more prone to bone loss, or osteopenia.
According to a 2006 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, patients who use Nexium and other PPIs are more likely to experience hip fractures compared to those who took H2 blockers. Of the patients evaluated, researchers found that men — who commonly have low calcium levels to begin with — were at even greater risk for bone loss and fractures.
Researchers have determined that the level of stomach acid suppression generally correlates with bone loss rates, suggesting that lower medication doses for short intervals are the safest bet to avoid this adverse side effect.
Nexium side effects lawsuits
At this time, Astra Zeneca is facing charges of negligence and failure to warn regarding the potential side effects of Nexium. Some patients are taking their claims to court, seeking damages for medical expenses, lost income, pain and emotional suffering, and other financial burdens. Nexium lawsuits were first initiated after consumers first learned about bone fracture risks tied to the drug.
Esomeprazole side effects resources
- Canadian Medical Association Journal, Proton pump inhibitors and the risk of acute kidney injury in older patients: a population-based cohort study, http://cmajopen.ca/content/3/2/E166.full
- FDA, Possible Increased Risk of Bone Fractures With Certain Antacid Drugs http://www.fda.gov/downloads/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm213307
- JAMA Internal Medicine, Proton Pump Inhibitor Use and the Risk of Chronic Kidne y Disease http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2481157
- Drugs.com, Nexium Side Effects http://www.drugs.com/sfx/nexium-side-effects.html