Lawsuits increase as research linking Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) heartburn drugs and kidney damage mounts

posted on:
March 1, 2017

Liz Eiland

In October, six federal-court plaintiffs asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consolidate Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) cases, according to the Jere Beasley Report. At that time, there were 15 pending federal cases. Righting Injustice reports the number of lawsuits have grown to more than 100 and plaintiffs’ attorneys continue reviewing thousands more potential cases.


PPIs are heartburn drugs that entered the market in the 1980s to treat acid-related disorders like stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and acid reflux. The most commonly prescribed PPIs are Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium. They were designed as an alternative to the histamine H2-receptor antagonists or H2-Blockers (such as Pepcid and Zantac) that had been used to treat heartburn since the 1960s.

Yet, in the 1990s, researchers began observing adverse effects linked to PPI use. Some side effects are not very serious, but others can be life threatening. A 1992 study first linked PPI use to Acute Interstitial Nephritis (AIN), inflammation in the spaces between the kidney tubules. Later studies linked PPI use with an increased risk of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI or Acute Renal Failure) and Chronic Kidney Disease.

In December 2014, the Jere Beasley Report explained that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began requiring warnings regarding the risk of AIN associated with PPIs. However, it stopped short of issuing black box warnings.

Research showing adverse side effects of PPI use continues to grow. Last week, CBS News detailed findings from a recent study in the journal Kidney International. The study linked long-term use of PPIs with a higher risk of Chronic Kidney Disease and Acute Kidney Injury than use of H2 blockers such as Zantac or Pepcid.

Lawyers in our firm’s Mass Torts Section are currently investigating cases involving PPI use and Acute Interstitial Nephritis, Acute Kidney Injury or Acute Renal Failure, and Chronic Kidney Disease. If you would like more information, contact Liz Eiland at 800-898-2034 or by email at

Jere Beasley Report (December 2016)
Righting Injustice
Jere Beasley Report (December 2014)
CBS News

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