Proton Pump Inhibitors Frequently Asked Questions

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are a type of both prescription and over-the-counter medications that help treat the symptoms of heartburn, as well as other symptoms of acid reflux. Popular brands such as Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid are just a few examples of PPIs. While these drugs can help alleviate symptoms, they have also been linked to very serious side effects, including the risk of kidney disease, heart attacks, and B12 deficiencies. They can also have severe interactions with other drugs. When you are hurt by the medication, or as a result of a doctor's failure to warn you of the possible side effects, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries.

If you or someone you love has been harmed by PPIs, the highly experienced attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian are here to fight for you. Here, we answer frequently asked questions about the medication, as well as what to do once you have suffered injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a proton pump inhibitor?

Proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, are a type of drug designed to help stop heartburn and other symptoms of acid reflux. They are designed to reduce the production of acid in the stomach when that acid production is overly high. It accomplishes this by blocking the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces the acid. This helps to prevent certain symptoms and medical conditions caused by the over-production of stomach acid.

2. What medical conditions do PPI's treat?

Proton pump inhibitors are used for the treatment and prevention of stomach acid-related conditions such as, but not limited to:

  • Esophageal duodenal and stomach ulcers
  • NSAID-associated ulcer
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
  • Damage to lower esophagus as a result of acid reflux (erosive esophagitis)
  • Chronic and severe heartburn
  • Ulcers
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

PPIs are also are used alongside antibiotics for the purpose of eradicating Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that together with acid causes ulcers of the stomach and duodenum. PPIs are not intended to treat simple heartburn and are often misused for this purpose.

3. What types of PPI drugs are on the market?

There are several different brands of PPIs on the market, some of which are available only through a prescription and others that are available over-the-counter. These include:

  • Prilosec (Omeprazole)
  • Nexium (Esomeprazole)
  • Prevacid (Lansoprazole)
  • AcipHex (Rabeprazole)
  • Protonix (Pantoprazole)
  • Dexilant (Dexlansoprazole)
  • Zegerid (Omeprazole plus sodium bicarbonate)

Each drug may be more specifically tailored to different conditions, and it is important that the doctor properly prescribe the correct PPI to the condition you face. Failure to do so could constitute medical malpractice.

4. What side effects do PPI drugs have?

PPIs have certain "regular" and "ordinary" side effects that are listed on the medications warning labels, some of which may not seem that severe at first glance. These include:

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Rash

However, the use of PPIs has been associated with much more severe side effects that, although less common in their occurrence, can lead to incredible harm to a patient taking them. These include:

  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Pancreatitis
  • Reduced liver function
  • Erythema multiforme

Prolonged and high dosages of PPIs can result in kidney disease, injury to the kidney, or even kidney failure. This can lead to life-threatening complications. A warning for chronic kidney disease is required on all PPI manufacturer labels.  The drugs have also been connected to serious Vitamin B12 deficiencies, heart attacks, cancers, and bone fractures.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, a doctor can be sued for a "failure to warn" you of the potential side effects, possible drug interactions issues, and the potential risks you face by taking a PPI. An experienced attorney is able to analyze your case to determine how best to proceed and get you the compensation you deserve.

5. Do PPIs have any negative interactions with other drugs?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires a warning for a serious drug interaction between PPIs and the blood thinner Plavix (clopidogrel). The medicine in PPIs causes the clopidogrel to be less effective, causing life-threatening conditions in those patients who need to use a blood-thinner such as clopidogrel. This combination should be avoided, and medical professionals who do prescribe these medications together could be held liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

6. Can I sue the manufacturer of the PPI for my injuries?

When a drug manufacturer creates and sells a defective drug that causes injury, you can file a products liability lawsuit against that company to be compensated for your injuries. A defective product lawsuit allows you to prove that the drug caused the injuries you suffered, and prove the amount of damages you suffered. This can be incredibly helpful in compensating you for the costs you incurred due to a defective drug.

7. What experience does your firm have with proton pump inhibitor lawsuits?

Our firm is highly experienced in representing patients injured by the use of PPIs. Our firm is highly experienced in the area of medical malpractice law and product liability law. We understand the complicated medical issues associated with these medications, as well as how to prove that your injuries were caused by it. Our team of experts is ready to put in the time on your individual case to make sure your rights are protected.

8. What financial compensation can I receive?

A patient who takes a PPI and is injured by that medication can file a lawsuit against the company or the doctor for financial compensation, as applicable. This compensation can include, but is not limited to:

  • cost of medical bills
  • future medical costs
  • rehabilitation costs
  • pain and suffering
  • lost wages
  • loss of consortium
  • damages related to loss of ability to get pregnant
  • wrongful death damages

This financial compensation can help to make you and your family whole after your injuries. You deserve to have your health protected, and your life made whole.

PPI Lawyers in Philadelphia

When a PPI drug caused you harm, you are entitled to bring a medical malpractice and/or products liability claim to receive financial compensation. The experienced attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian have the knowledge and years of practice to fight for your rights.

Contact us online or call our law office at (800) 529-6162 for a free consultation.

Let Us Help

If someone you are close to has been seriously injured or worse, you are naturally devastated not only by what has happened, but by the effect that the injury or loss has had on you and your family. At a time when you're vulnerable, traumatized and emotionally exhausted, you need a team that will support you through the often complex process that lies ahead.

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