South Carolina Heartburn Medication Lawsuits
Learn about your right to compensation if you suffered harm after taking heartburn medication
Heartburn is often described as an internal burning sensation in the chest behind the breastbone that occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus (the tube that transports food from the mouth to the stomach). Occasional heartburn is generally no cause for concern. Most people can manage mild cases by modifying their diet and lifestyle or taking medications.
Recently, however, several heartburn medications have been linked to serious injury and death. Among these medications are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). This article will discuss the health risks associated with these medications as well as your right to recover compensation if you’ve been affected.
What are proton pump inhibitors?
Proton pump inhibitors are the most commonly-prescribed heartburn medications. They’re available over the counter or by prescription. Prilosec and Nexium, which respectively generate $218 million and $300 million in annual sales, are the most popular PPIs.
Other examples of PPIs include the following:
Proton pump inhibitors stop heartburn by reducing the production of gastric acid. Because these drugs have lengthy lists of short- and long-term side effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends taking PPIs for a maximum of 14 days up to 3 times per year.
Other health issues treated by PPIs
In addition to relieving heartburn, doctors have recommended proton pump inhibitor drugs to treat several other conditions, including:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome
- Stomach cancer
- Barrett’s Esophagus
- Hiatal hernias
Potential side effects and risks of taking PPI medication
Many of the common side effects of PPIs don’t require major medical treatment or intervention. Fatigue, dizziness and nausea are among the relatively minor short-term side effects.
Other short-term side effects include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Skin rash and itching
The long-term health risks associated with PPIs tend to be more severe. Studies have shown that PPIs can have particularly negative effects on the kidneys, with potential problems including:
- Acute interstitial nephritis
- Chronic kidney disease
- Acute kidney disease
- Kidney failure
Other serious long-term health consequences associated with PPIs include the following:
- Bone fractures
- Heart attack
Additionally, the use of PPIs during pregnancy may increase health risks for unborn babies. In fact, one study found that babies born to mothers who used PPIs during pregnancy had a 28% greater risk of developing congenital malformations and heart defects than babies born to mothers who didn’t use PPIs.
Who may be liable in a heartburn medication lawsuit?
Liability in a drug injury lawsuit refers to the legal responsibility of individuals or companies for the harm caused by a defective or dangerous drug. The concept of liability focuses on determining who should be held accountable for the injuries or damages suffered by the plaintiff (injured person).
In drug injury cases, several parties may be potentially liable:
- Pharmaceutical manufacturers. Manufacturers can be held liable if they produce a drug with defects or fail to adequately warn about known risks associated with the drug. This includes issues such as manufacturing defects, design defects and failure to provide proper instructions or warnings.
- Pharmacies. Pharmacies can be held liable if they dispense the wrong medication, provide incorrect dosage instructions, or fail to detect potential drug interactions or contraindications.
- Healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists, can be held liable if they negligently prescribe or administer a drug, fail to provide appropriate warnings or instructions, or deviate from the accepted standard of care in their professions.
- Distributors. Distributors of dangerous or defective drugs can also be held liable if they knew or should have known about the risks associated with these drugs.
What should I do if I believe heartburn medicine caused my kidney disease or other serious illness?
People who believe they may be experiencing negative side effects from heartburn medication should first consult their doctor. Your doctor should be notified of any new symptoms you’re experiencing, and you should express your concern that the medication may be the cause.
If your doctor also suspects that your heartburn medication may be causing your health issues, your next step is to consult a personal injury lawyer.
Proving liability in a drug injury case requires a thorough investigation, expert testimony and substantial evidence to establish a causal link between the drug and the injuries and side effects you’re experiencing. An experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in drug injury cases can help you gather the evidence needed to build a strong case for liability.
Safer alternatives to heartburn treatment
From herbal remedies to holistic therapies, there are several safer options available for people who suffer from heartburn.
Acid reflux is sometimes caused by stress. Therefore, simply taking time to relax each day can be the starting point for a patient’s recovery. Massage therapy, yoga and deep breathing exercises can help people who frequently experience heartburn implement relaxation into their lifestyle.
Herbal treatments like chamomile, ginger, slippery elm and marshmallow root may also be useful in easing the digestive system and reducing symptoms. Additionally, certain lifestyle changes like losing weight and quitting smoking have been shown to reduce heartburn symptoms as well.
Contact an experienced Columbia personal injury attorney
If you believe you’ve suffered a serious side effect or disease after taking heartburn medication, you need a skilled personal injury attorney with experience handling product liability claims involving dangerous drugs.
At Smith, Born, Leventis, Taylor & Vega, our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience representing clients injured by dangerous and defective drugs throughout Columbia and the surrounding areas. We offer free, no-obligation consultations to give you the help and information you need to get back on the road to physical and financial recovery.
Contact us today to see how we can help you get maximum compensation for your claim.