Dangers of Overprescribing PPIs
Globally, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are overprescribed. Although they are cost-effective when consumers use within the label’s recommended time frame. However, many are not informed on what that time frame is. Studies show that in 70% of cases, doctors do not give clear instructions on when to stop PPI use. Medical professionals falsely believe the risks are low but don’t patients desire to know anyway? These risks include stomach and esophageal cancer, which can be terminal.
Manufacturers first introduced PPIs in the 1980s and rapidly became some of the bestselling medicines of all time. These medicines work by reducing the amount of stomach acid made by glands in the lining of the stomach. Many use PPIs to prevent Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), to heal inflammation of the esophagus and to prevent complications until the esophagus is healed. However, the warning label says that PPIs should only be used short-term (4-8 weeks) In fact, long-term use can produce a variety of dangerous side effects.
The Pharmaceutical Journal found that around the globe medical professional overprescribe PPIs. Prescription rates rose by 1,318% over one decade (1996–2006). Most of this growth occurs in primary care, with increasing numbers of patients treated for longer durations. Manufacturers made over $11 billion in PPI sales last year.
Fifteen years ago, studies questioned why doctors pushed these medications so much. In fact, one study in an Ann Arbor, MI Veterans’ Administration hospital determined that of 946 patients, medical professionals only prescribed 35% for an appropriate documented upper GI diagnosis, 10% received PPIs for symptomatic treatment based on extraesophageal symptoms, 18% received PPIs for gastroprotection, and 36% received dangerous PPIs for no documented reasons at all.
Roughly, 15 million Americans use PPIs every year. Out of these, 20-50% are at a higher risk of chronic kidney disease. Researchers compared this with nonusers. Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys lose their ability to filter blood effectively. This can lead to end-stage renal failure, which is the need for life-long dialysis treatment or even a kidney transplant. This also includes Acute Interstitial Nephritis (AIN), which users are at 5 times greater risk of developing this deadly infection. AIN is a drug-induced bacterial infection of the kidneys.
These aren’t the only side effects others include chronic liver disease, stomach cancer, and esophageal cancer. The rates of cancer growth doubles compared to those not using PPIs. Unlike stomach cancer, which researchers associate with long-term use, patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer only used PPIs for a short amount of time.
If PPIs Injured You
When manufacturers produce unsafe products that create pain and suffering, you deserve compensation. Although no amount of money will change the fact that you have suffered a serious injury as a result of manufacturer irresponsibility, compensation will help offset your current and future medical costs, as well as provide for the pain and suffering you have experienced. By filing, you may also help protect others from needless distress.
You may be eligible for compensation to ease the financial burdens associated with your injury. Contact us today to set up a free consultation, during which we will listen to your story, answer any questions you may have and discuss your legal rights and options. If you choose us to represent you, we will work with you on a contingency fee basis; this means you pay nothing until we have secured compensation for you, either through a jury verdict or settlement.