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July 3, 2020

1 in 6 Veterans Use Potentially Toxic PPI Heartburn Drugs, Report

The Department of Veteran Affairs reports proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are one of the most frequently prescribed medications in the VA. However, PPI heartburn drugs have been linked severe side effects, placing millions of veterans at risk of kidney damage and heart failure.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ blog VAntage Point, about one in six veterans use PPI drugs to ease digestive disorders. Over the counter and prescription PPIs like Nexium and Prilosec have been used to treat a variety of digestive issues including heartburn, acid reflux, and gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD.

However, the VA found veterans are often prescribed PPI drugs unnecessarily, causing overuse.  Research shows that as high as 60% of PPI drugs are prescribed even if they lack “clear evidence-based indication.”

In recent years numerous studies have found PPI heartburn drugs increase users’ risk for developing severe side effects. A study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found individuals using PPI heartburn drugs were at an increased risk of kidney failure by nearly 96%. Other studies from across the country linked PPI use to heart attacks, strokes, bone fractures, and pneumonia.

Every year PPIs make up over 11 million 30-day prescriptions in the VA, placing millions of veterans at risk of developing serious health conditions. Current research indicates that PPI drug use could be reduced or stopped in over one-third of the cases.

Reducing PPI Overuse

Noticing the trend of over-prescribing PPI drugs, VA programs and pharmacies across the nation have been working to decrease PPI use for veterans who do not need to use them.

“The awareness of the program, coupled with the fact that physicians are seeing more evidence of the risks of long-term PPI therapy, has led providers to be very cautious when prescribing PPIs,” says Kelly Davis, a pharmacist at the Lexington VA Medical Center. “As a whole, we’ve found that the program has decreased our unnecessary PPI use.” Davis’ facility has created a PPI stewardship team to teach best practices when prescribing or de-prescribing PPIs to avoid overuse.

PPI Heartburn Drugs: Lawsuits

If you used a PPI like Nexium or Prilosec and experienced severe side effects, you may be entitled to compensation from the drug’s manufacturer. Individuals from across the country have found their heart attacks, kidney injuries, and pneumonia diagnoses were caused by their long-term PPI use.

Injured individuals allege PPI manufacturers unlawfully marked their drugs and failed to warn both doctors and patients of the health risks associated with their products. Lawsuits filed against PPI manufacturers say that proper warning of the drug's dangers would have allowed patients to seek alternate treatments for their digestive disorders or monitor their health more closely for adverse side effects tied to PPI drugs.

The attorneys at the McGartland Law Firm works tirelessly to help victims of dangerous drugs, like Nexium and Prilosec, hold companies responsible for their illegal activities. We have won multi-millions of dollars for our clients and work on a contingency-fee basis for your convenience. This allows us to provide you with quality legal representation without undue financial risk. Call 1-866-832-9300 today to speak with one of our caring representatives about your case.

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