Heartburn Drugs and Stomach Cancer
Did you know that heartburn drugs sold widely over the counter and by prescription can contribute to stomach cancer? That’s the finding of many medical studies showing a statistical connection between heartburn meds such as Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid and an increased chance of suffering stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer.
Why Are Heartburn Drugs Causing Stmach Cancer?
As for why such heartburn drugs are dangerous, the answer lies in the nature of medications in a certain family of drugs. Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid and several other heartburn meds are in a group known as proton pump inhibitors, or PPI. PPI drugs are generally considered to be safe and can, in fact, help ease such conditions as heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. They do this by suppressing excessive production and buildup of acids in the stomach.
But in the process, such PPI drugs also can inhibit the absorption of vital minerals by the body, and that, in turn, can contribute to stomach cancer. How big of a risk are PPI heartburn meds? According to British newspaper The Guardian, taking a PPI drug “commonly used to treat acid reflux is linked to a more than doubled risk of developing stomach cancer.”
Newsweek magazine also reported that a study showed PPI drugs may raise the risk of users getting stomach cancer eight times if taken for more than three years. Indeed, it is the long-term use of PPI drugs that’s been found to be especially risky. Such long-term use of heartburn drugs in the PPI family also has been associated with other PPI drug side effects, including kidney damage, heart attacks, broken bones, esophageal cancer and even strokes.
Why Are Harmful Heartburn Drugs Still Sold?
As for why such harmful PPI heartburn drugs are still sold, the answer lies in profits -- billions and billions of dollars in profits. The creators, manufacturers and sellers of these defective drugs have carved out a gargantuan slice of the pharmaceutical market by convincing millions of Americans to take them -- and to take them often.
Nexium is by far the biggest-selling PPI drug for treating heartburn. In one recent year alone, Nexium had more than $5.5 billion in revenues for its manufacturers, which are AstraZeneca for prescription Nexium and Pfizer for over-the-counter, or OTC, Nexium. Overall, Nexium is among the top three biggest-selling drugs of any kind in the past quarter century. That’s more than big. It’s enormous. In fact, since it went on sale in 2001, Nexium has sold more than $73 billion worth of drugs, or an average of around $4 billion per year.
Six PPI Drugs Are Suspect for Causing Stomach Cancer
The active ingredient in Nexium -- which is a brand name, not a drug -- is the drug esomeprazole. It is among six PPI drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, but which now are suspected of contributing to stomach cancer.
Long-term drug side effects often become known only after drugs have been FDA-approved and entered the market. Then, in effect, innocent and unsuspecting consumers become test cases for long-term drug use side effects. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, or NIH, the other five PPI drugs are omeprazole (brand name Prilosec); lansoprazole (brand name Prevacid); dexlansoprazole (brand name Dexilant); pantoprazole (brand name Protonix); and rabeprazole (brand name Aciphex).
The NIH also states that “Despite an excellent safety profile throughout their first two decades of use, the nearly universal popularity of PPIs has prompted several concerns about both their short- and long-term effects.”Indeed, long-term side effects of PPI drugs in particular have been found to be of great concern by many medical researchers. Yet the makers of these drugs continue to peddle them while knowing that they could cause harm -- and without warning consumers or physicians of their potentially deadly heartburn drug side effects.
Heartburn Drug Stomach Cancer Lawsuit
Given the inherent dangers posed by PPI drugs and the gastric cancer to which they contribute, thousands of Americans have filed heartburn drug stomach cancer lawsuits in federal courts. Such lawsuits contend not only that PPI drugs are defective and thus their manufacturers are negligent, but also that these drug makers failed to warn consumers about their products’ possible dangerous side effects.
With such warnings, many persons could have considered alternative treatments for heartburn and other gastric maladies. With such warnings, many persons could have hastened to get early screenings for stomach cancer, which is far more dangerous when it reaches an advanced stage. Without such warnings, American consumers have been simply profit-makers for giant drug companies, which would rather continue reaping billions of dollars for themselves than risk losing some income by giving consumers information that suggests options for their safety and health.
If you or a family member has suffered stomach cancer or gastric cancer after taking a PPI drug such as Nexium, Prevacid or Prilosec, please notify The Willis Law Firm today. We are experienced in helping many Americans claim compensation to which they were legally entitled after suffering injury due to corporate greed and negligence. Such payments can include money for any salary or wages lost due to your drug injury, as well as payments for your healthcare and medical costs, and also money for your pain and suffering.
Contact us today and you’ll receive a free legal review of your case. We can help you explore your prospects for a successful heartburn drug stomach cancer lawsuit and advise you on how to proceed. Then you can decide if you want to claim payments -- and justice -- by means of a heartburn drug lawsuit for stomach cancer.