Protonix (generic: pantoprazole) is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medication used in the treatment of peptic ulcer disease. It is chemically structured to help the secretion of acid from the stomach glands. There are generic brands of Protonix, but the drug usually comes in a 40mg oral medicine tablet that is delayed-release and long lasting. Protonix was developed by Atlanta and is currently marketed by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories.
To relieve the symptoms of gastric reflux, many patients are prescribed Protonix for a period of several months or longer. For many, the relief Protonix brings is welcomed. However, mounting evidence and numerous case studies have shown that Protonix and other PPIs may cause harm to some patients.
Heartburn Medications Linked to Kidney Disease
PPIs may increase the risk of long-term kidney damage, according to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. When researchers looked at the records of over 10,000 patients treated in community-based settings, they found a 20-50% increased risk of chronic kidney disease among PPI users compared to non-users. The link was also identified when the study’s authors examined the records of more than 248,000 people treated in a Pennsylvania hospital system.
Chronic Kidney Disease Symptoms
There are many symptoms of chronic kidney disease including:
- Changes in urination
- Swelling in the ankles, legs, feet and/or hands
- Skin rash / itching
- Nausea / vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling cold
- Metallic taste in mouth / ammonia breath
- Dizziness / trouble concentrating
- Leg / flank pain
Bone Fractures Caused by Protonix
PPI medications like Protonix have also been linked to a possible increase in the risk of fractures because the drugs reduce the acid in the stomach that block against harmful bacteria. Fractured hips, wrists and spines are serious and painful injuries which can severely restrict mobility and limit the patient’s quality of life. Long-term use of PPIs like Protonix in older patients may increase the risk of suffering hip fractures by up to 25%.
Prior Protonix Lawsuits
In 2013 the world’s largest drug maker, Pfizer Inc., was ordered to pay $55 million plus interest to settle charges by the U.S. Department of Justice that the acid reflux drug Protonix was promoted for unapproved uses. According to the Justice Department, even though the drug was only approved for a limited purpose, Wyeth trained its sales force to promote Protonix for all forms of GERD. By promoting the drug as appropriate for far more commonly diagnosed forms of GERD, Wyeth was aiming for significantly higher sales.
In February of 2016, Pfizer said that it expects to pay $785 million to settle False Claims Act suits alleging its Wyeth unit overcharged Medicaid for heartburn drug Protonix. The cases center on discounts that Wyeth offered to hospitals that purchased oral and intravenous versions of Protonix and a time when the company did not offer the same discounts to Medicaid.
Contact an Experienced Protonix Injury Attorney
If you have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease or other illnesses after using Protonix, it is important to speak to a skilled Protonix injury attorney as soon as possible. Patients who were harmed by proton pump inhibitor medication can file a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer to obtain compensation for their damages and losses. At Michigan Injury Lawyers, our experienced defective drug lawyers are here to help. Contact us today at 313-GET-HELP.