In the United States, proton pump inhibitors (PPI) are the most prescribed drugs for treating acid reflux. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Americans spend over 10 billion dollars a year on PPI drugs. The latter include lansoprazole, esomeprazole, omeprazole, and rabeprazole, and they also work in treating helicobacter pylori infections.
The drugs have been on the market for over two decades and have been available without a prescription for over a decade. No doubt, PPI drugs are pretty effective, but in recent times, there have been complaints of several ailments arising from prolonged usage. Users blame the drugs for causing kidney disease, kidney injury, kidney failure, and acute interstitial nephritis (AIN).
These illnesses associated with proton pump inhibitors have caused researchers to question whether long-term usage can cause cancer. This article looks at the preceding in detail. If you or someone you know suffers from any side effects, contact our mass tort lawyers to learn the legal option available to you.
How Do Proton Pump Inhibitors Work?
Generally, the stomach digests food with the acid of gastric acid. The latter is a combination of sodium chloride and potassium chloride. The two are produced when gastric cells (G-cells) in the stomach secrete the hormone gastrins. The secretion signals parietal cells in the stomach to start pumping acid.
When you take PPI drugs, it shuts down the proton pumps in the parietal cells, thereby cutting off acid production. While this is all well and good, it has a downside. As the body blocks the acid production when you use a PPI, it adversely reacts to this shutdown because it needs more acid.
The body then causes the G-cells to produce more gastrin. But, when it makes too much gastrin, it stimulates the growth of gastrointestinal tumors. So now, when you use PPI to treat acid reflux, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it increases the risk of stomach cancer and esophageal cancers.
The more people use PPI drugs, the more they risk getting stomach cancers (gastric cancer). Note that the risk is higher when you use it without medical indication — that is when not prescribed to treat a particular condition. Thus, it’s best to take proton pump inhibitors under the recommendation of your physician. Doing the latter would greatly help your lawsuit should you develop stomach cancer.
Is There a Safe Alternative to Proton Pump Inhibitors?
The best way to prevent getting stomach or esophageal cancer from PPI drugs is to avoid taking them. But what happens when your GERD persists? Do you switch to a different PPI drug, or are there safe alternatives?
Medically, no PPI medication doesn’t carry cancer risk or some of the other known side effects. Thus, if you want to go off meds completely, you need to modify your lifestyle and diet. This is the only safe alternative.
To do this, you have to, for instance, stay off alcoholic drinks and caffeine, quit smoking, avoid spicy food and late nights. However, a lifestyle change does not work for many people, and they need to use PPI therapy long-term. The preceding is why users expect the drugs to be safe and why several lawsuits accuse the manufacturers of failing to release a safe product into the market.
Who Can You Sue for Proton Pump Inhibitors-Related Stomach Cancer?
If you are a longtime user of any PPI drugs and developed stomach cancer, you have a right to compensation. In most of the existing PPI stomach cancer lawsuits, the named defendants are AstraZeneca, Prizer, and Proctor and Gamble. These companies are the primary manufacturers of the drugs Nexium and Prilosec.
You can join the litigants seeking compensation from these companies. But ensure that you can connect your gastric cancer to the long-term usage of PPI. This is because other factors can cause this ailment outside proton pump inhibitors. Some of these factors are:
- A diet high in salty and smoked foods
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables
- Family history of stomach cancer
- Infection with Helicobacter pylori
- Long-term stomach inflammation (gastritis)
By ruling out the above, you’ll establish the link between your illness and PPI. Also, you must show that you have used PPI drugs for a long time. A mass tort lawyer can help you gather all the evidence you need to win your case.
Let Dalimonte Rueb Stoller Mass Tort Attorneys Help You!
If you have been using proton pump inhibitors for a long time and have developed stomach cancer, contact a mass tort attorney immediately. At Dalimonte Rueb Stoller, LLP, our lawyers have the experience and legal knowledge needed to win against Big Pharma companies. Contact us today for a free case review.