Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as Prilosec® (omeprazole), Prevacid® (lansoprazole), Nexium® (esomeprazole), and others reduce stomach acid by blocking the gastric pump responsible for its production. PPIs have been used to treat peptic-acid disorders—including frequent heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced gastropathy and peptic ulcer disease (PUD)—since Prilosec, the first drug in the PPI class, received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 1989.
However, while PPI use has long been considered safe, recent studies link long-term use of these medications to a number of serious and even life-threatening side effects and complications. As a result, several PPI manufacturers, including AstraZeneca, the maker of Prilosec and Nexium, are facing personal injury lawsuits brought by former patients and wrongful death lawsuits brought by the family members of patients who died of complications associated with the drugs.
If you're considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a PPI manufacturer, learning more about these drugs and the civil litigation process in these cases can help you decide if taking legal action is appropriate for your family.
Serious PPI Side Effects and Complications
While the most common side effects associated with PPI medications can be described as merely uncomfortable or inconvenient, these drugs are also linked to an array of complications that can have long-lasting negative effects on one's health and, in some cases, lead to death.
These serious side effects and complications include:
- Low magnesium levels
- Difficulty absorbing nutrients, which can potentially lead to malnutrition and excessive weight loss that requires hospitalization
- Osteoporosis and bone fractures
- Damaged arteries
- Heart attack
- C. difficile infections
- Kidney injury
- Chronic kidney disease
- Kidney failure
Am I Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When someone you love dies unexpectedly and in a way that feels particularly unjust, you may be understandably eager to take legal action. However, the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit only extends to a select few individuals who had specific relationships with the decedent, such as:
- Children (including adopted children)
- Parents of unmarried children
- Aunts and uncles
- Domestic and life partners
- Punitive spouses
- Other dependents
Damages Sought in Wrongful Death Cases
Grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult enough without the addition of financial concerns. Unfortunately, the expenses that often arise from the death of a family member, as well as the lack of continued financial support, can lead to many sleepless nights for the decedent's survivors. Securing a monetary award in a wrongful death lawsuit can help alleviate some of these worries.
Surviving family members and other dependents can pursue compensation for a wide range of economic and non-economic losses, including:
- Medical expenses related to the death
- Funeral and burial or cremation costs
- Loss of future wages
- Loss of benefits, such as medical insurance or retirement benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of care and protection
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
Also, although less common, punitive damages may be awarded in cases where the defendant's conduct was particularly egregious. A knowledgeable personal injury or wrongful death attorney can discuss with you the range of damages that may be applicable in your case.
Are You Considering a PPI Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When you've lost a loved one, the desire for justice can feel extremely urgent. However, there's a lot to consider before filing a PPI wrongful death lawsuit, including which type of civil litigation is best for you and your family. An experienced personal injury attorney can review all aspects of your case, present you with legal options, and advise you through each and every step of the litigation process.
McGartland Law Firm can help you pursue justice for your deceased loved one and compensation for financial and emotional losses related to his or her death. Contact us today to make an appointment for a free initial consultation.