Nexium is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) commonly prescribed for a variety of stomach issues including acid reflux, ulcers, and heartburn.
Manufactured by Pfizer, the company has cleverly marketed Nexium as the “purple pill” to stand out against the competition. Other PPI drugs include AcipHex, Kapidex, Losec, Protonix, Rapinex, Vimovo, Zegerid. In addition to Nexium, our law firm is currently taking cases on Dexilant, Prevacid, and Prilosec.
More than 15 million Americans are prescribed PPIs to alleviate the symptoms of digestive issues. Even though Nexium is a frequently used over-the-counter medicine, it has been linked to causing severe side effects that may be fatal.
Nexium was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2001 for use in treating symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and for the healing of erosive esophagitis, a condition often associated with GERD.
Pfizer acquired the exclusive global rights to market Nexium for the approved over-the-counter indications in a 2014 agreement with AstraZeneca (the original developer). Nexium had been AstraZeneca’s top product, generating over $30 billion in revenue for the drug giant since its approval in 2001.
Nexium linked to Chronic Kidney Disease
In recent years, reports have surfaced claiming a link between Nexium and a number of acute and chronic injuries. One study published in JAMA concluded an end total of 1,921 study participants experienced chronic kidney disease (CKD) from using PPIs. “Proton pump inhibitor use is associated with a 20 – 50% higher risk of incident CKD,” according to the study.
Another study was conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis. Over the span of five years, researchers followed close to 200,000 people and monitored symptoms from taking PPIs. They concluded the longer a patient takes a PPI, the higher their risk of CKD.
They found that 15 percent of the PPI users experienced CKD compared to 11 percent of users taking H2 blockers, another type of heartburn medication.
Another study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health showed the same increase in patients prescribed PPI’s like Nexium.
In 2016, NPR Online quoted Adam Schoenfeld, who co-authored an editorial accompanying the study, as saying, “When they first came out they weren’t associated with side effects, or we didn’t think they were.”
He went on to state, “So we put [people] on this medication thinking: ‘It’s a quick fix and they’re very safe.’ But in actuality they’re associated with a range of side effects.”
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a potentially fatal disease where the normal function of the kidney is compromised. Kidneys extract waste and excess fluids from the bloodstream, which are then excreted into urine. When this function is compromised, dangerous levels of fluids and waste can build up in the body.
CKD often progresses into end-stage kidney failure, which requires artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant as treatment. End-stage kidney failure is often fatal.
Other risks associated with Nexium
For years, Nexium and other PPI’s were prescribed in staggering numbers, as they were thought to be relatively harmless. After over 20 years on the market, the long-term safety of the drug is being called into question.
Recent studies show PPI’s may increase the risk in developing a number of painful and potentially life threatening conditions such as rhabdomyolysis (a painful syndrome caused by the release of muscle fibers into the bloodstream), cardiovascular complications, and loss of brain function known as hepatic encephalopathy (HE).
Nexium linked to Rhabdomyolysis
In a recent study conducted by South Korean doctors, a single intravenous dose of Nexium caused a 45-year-old man to suffer a debilitating muscular breakdown, known as rhabdomyolysis.
Rhabdomyolysis is a painful syndrome caused by the release of muscle fibers into the bloodstream. Symptoms include muscle cramps, tenderness, stiffness, pain or spasms. The condition typically occurs in men over the age of 65 who have renal impairment or uncontrolled hypothyroidism.
In conclusion, the study indicated, “We should keep in mind that single-dose intravenous administration of esomeprazole can induce rhabdomyolysis.”
Side effects of Nexium
Nexium (esomeprazole) has listed a variety of common and adverse side effects. If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, contact your health care provider immediately.
- Bad, unusual or unpleasant aftertaste
- Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- Back pain
- Dry mouth
- Excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
- Full feeling
- Hair loss or thinning of the hair
- Muscular weakness
- Passing gas
- Seeing, hearing or feeling things that are not there
- Swelling of the breasts or breast soreness in both females and males
- Swelling or inflammation of the mouth
- Swollen joints
Major Side Effects
- Blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin
- Darkened urine
- Difficulty with swallowing
- Fast heartbeat
- Joint or muscle pain
- Loss of appetite
- Mood or mental changes
- Muscle spasms (tetany) or twitching
- Pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen; possibly radiating to the back
- Puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips or tongue
- Red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- Red, irritated eyes
- Skin rash, hives, itching
- Sore throat
- Sores, ulcers or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
- Tightness in the chest
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
- Yellow eyes or skin (jaundice)
It is important to note the initial symptoms of a heart attack often mirror the symptoms of heartburn. If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains or tingling in the shoulders or arms, contact a physician or dial 911 immediately.
- Acute Injuries
- Acute interstitial nephritis (AIN)
- Acute tubular necrosis (ATN)
- Acute kidney injury (AKI)
- Acute kidney failure (AKF)
- Chronic Injuries
- Chronic kidney disease
- Renal and/or kidney failure
- End stage renal disease (ESRD)
- Stomach cancer