Nexium (esomeprazole) is manufactured by AstraZeneca for the treatment of excess stomach acid and is in the class of acid-suppressing drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs prohibit the production of acid in the stomach cells and it is estimated that approximately 15 million Americans use PPIs to treat gastroesophageal reflex disease (GERD), acid reflex and peptic ulcers.
In 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning for PPIs indicating that some users had experienced acute interstitial nephritis and inflammation of the kidneys that could lead to permanent injury.
In January 2016, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that found a 45% increased risk of chronic kidney disease for those who use PPIs. The study involved more than 10,000 patients over a 15-year period and further established a link between PPI use and chronic kidney disease that could lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis or a transplant.
In April 2016, a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that PPI users had a 96% greater risk of developing kidney failure and a 28% increased risk of developing kidney disease than patients on an alternative acid reduction drug like Pepcid or Zantac, where are classified as histamine H2 receptor blockers.
A federal lawsuit was filed in May 2016 alleging that AstraZeneca knew of the link between Nexium and kidney disease and failed to warn consumers and physicians about this potentially deadly side effect on the drug’s label.
The FDA approved Nexium for sale over-the-counter in March 2014. Prior to that, it required a prescription.
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