Chronic heartburn is not a health condition that should be taken lightly. If unaddressed, it could cause significant damage to the stomach and esophagus, as well as lead to the development of certain cancers. Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) are drugs manufactured with the sole purpose of controlling heartburn and acid reflux disease.
As useful as a PPI might be to some patients, new studies are discovering that they do not come without risks. Some of the most common PPI drugs, which can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription – may increase the likelihood of both stroke and painful kidney stones.
The American Heart Association helped with one study that found a patient’s risk of stroke increased by a staggering 94% if heartburn medication was taken daily. Another study found patients had a 12% increased chance of developing kidney stones. Additionally, the development of kidney stones can sometimes indicate a weakened kidney and, thus, kidney failure may also be in the patient’s future.
Dangers & Reliance Understated
Many OTC heartburn medications do not clearly express the increased dangers of stroke and kidney stones to consumers. They also do not indicate the apparent reliance, not necessarily addiction, someone may develop when using the drug. People who attempt to stop taking heartburn medication may experience severe heartburn for several days after quitting. This increase in symptoms may spur users to begin taking the drug again just to make the severe reaction stop.
It should also be made clear that you should never stop taking prescribed medication without first speaking to your doctor. For your own health and safety, it is best to leave important treatment decisions to a trusted medical professional.
Possible Compensation for Heartburn Complications
If you have suffered a stroke or developed a painful kidney stone after using heartburn medication, the drug manufacturer might be responsible for any resulting damages and treatment costs. Contact our defective pharmaceutical attorneys at Kaiser Gornick, LLP to determine if you have a case and, if so, how much compensation you should pursue.