Heartburn medication is often used to control stomach acid and treat conditions such as heartburn, acid reflux, peptic ulcers, and other related health conditions. Millions of people nationwide use over-the-counter or prescription heartburn medication to help them reduce the most severe of symptoms of heartburn, which can be caused by certain foods, alcohol, or other related health problems. But are acid-suppressing drugs safe, especially if used for long periods of time? Researchers say no.
While heartburn drugs have been effective at reducing the symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), experts are concerned that the drug can actually increase the risk of stomach cancer.
Popular heartburn drugs on the market include:
Studies Show Heartburn Drugs May Increase Stomach Cancer Risk
Researchers have published results from their studies suggesting that long-term use of heartburn drugs (also known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)) can lead to a higher risk of cancerous cells in the stomach and increased risk of gastric cancer.
Studies also show that PPIs can include adverse side effects such as:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Loss of kidney function (which eventually require the use of dialysis or kidney transplant)
- Increased risk of infections
- Weakened immune system
Even patients who experienced no negative side effects reported greater odds of having esophageal cancer than patients who experienced serious symptoms.
More research is required to determine a clear link between PPIs and stomach cancer, but experts are cautioning patients against prolonged use of heartburn medication. Patients who have been taking the drug for a long period of time should see a doctor and have a screening done to determine if cancer is present.
Suffered Injuries from Heartburn Medication?
Some patients have already filed lawsuits against manufacturers of heartburn medication for failing to warn patients of the serious risks and side effects. Although the litigation is still in the early stages, there is expected to be an increase in lawsuits, as millions of patients have taken or continue to take heartburn medication.
If you have suffered from adverse side effects after taking heartburn medication, call Kaiser Gornick LLP to discuss your injuries. Our product liability attorneys have had extensive success representing clients injured by defective pharmaceuticals, defective medical devices, and other defective consumer products. We can review your case and help you explore your options for compensation. Start with a free consultation today online or by calling our office.