Stomach Cancer Risks From Heartburn Meds
Did you know that you may be facing stomach cancer risks from the heartburn meds you take? That can be true if you take Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid or other prescription or over-the-counter drugs in a family known as proton pump inhibitors, or PPI drugs.
In study after study of medical and scientific research, such drugs have been shown to contribute to a raised risk of stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer.
Beyond that, they also can contribute to a heightened danger of kidney damage, heart attacks, broken bones, gastrointestinal cancer, liver cancer and esophageal cancer, which is cancer of the channel linking the throat and the stomach.
Do giant pharmaceutical companies know that their products -- which earn them enormous profits -- can harm innocent Americans in such ways? Of course they do. But they are willing to place you and your family at risk while continuing to reap billions of dollars by selling their defective drugs -- and without warning you about their cancer risks.
Heartburn Meds are Big Business
Yes, heartburn and acid reflux drugs are big business. In fact, it’s estimated that 20 percent of all Americans take some form of heartburn or acid reflux drugs to ease those conditions and protect the stomach lining.
Many such drugs are in the family of drugs known as PPI. These are the ones which present the greatest dangers -- which present stomach cancer risks from heartburn meds.
The risks grow higher and higher if you take heartburn meds consistently over a long period of time. That is, the more PPI pills you pop, and the longer time that you take them, the greater your chance of suffering stomach cancer.
Manufacturers, of course, tend to encourage you to take more and more of their drugs, which means they can make more and more money.
Stomach Cancer Risks Rise
According to research cited in the respected website Webmd.com, stomach cancer risks rise in a “statistically significant” way particularly for persons who take PPI drugs to treat Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, a bacteria associated with stomach cancer. This is even true after the bacteria has been eliminated. (Besides heartburn and acid reflux, PPI drugs also are taken to treat H. pylori, a bacterial infection that can produce symptoms similar to acid reflux and which can raise the risk of stomach cancer.)
“While PPIs are one of the most commonly used medications for treating reflux disease as well as dyspepsia, clinicians should exercise caution when prescribing long-term PPIs, even to patients who have H. pylori eradicated," said Dr. Wai Keung Leung. A professor of gastroenterology at the University of Hong Kong, he was lead researcher in the study which found this link.
Though the study did not prove that PPI drugs cause stomach cancer, it did show that an association between PPI drugs and stomach cancer does exist. That was particularly true for persons who took a PPI drug daily for at least three years. Put simply, longer use meant a higher risk of stomach cancer.
The New York Times also has reported on heartburn drugs being linked to stomach cancer risks. It noted that even when H. pylori has been eliminated by a PPI drug, stomach cancer could arise.
Do You Need a Stomach Cancer Lawsuit?
Victims may need a stomach cancer lawsuit or antacid lawsuit to protect their legal rights and seek fair and just payments for their many losses due to a PPI drug side effect such as stomach cancer.
Many victims are expected, since PPI drugs such as Prilosec, Prevacid and especially Nexium are enormous sellers. Millions of Americans take such antacids to treat or stave off heartburn, acid reflux, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), dyspepsia, peptic ulcers and indigestion.
All such drugs work in the same way. As PPI drugs, they block the proton pump of the gastric parietal cells, the final process prior to the stomach producing acid. But in doing so, they can produce harmful if not potentially deadly PPI drug side effects.
What Are the Six PPI Drugs?
As of now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved six PPI drugs to treat gastric issues:
Begin bulleted list
Nexium (with active ingredient esomeprazole)
Prevacid (with active ingredient lansoprazole)
Prilosec (with active ingredient omeprazole)
AcipHex (with active ingredient rabeprazole)
Protonix (with active ingredient pantoprazole)
Dexilant (with active ingredient dexlansoprazole)
End bulleted list
Nexium is the biggest seller on this list, having reaped more than $72 billion in sales as of Jan. 1, 2018. But all such drugs can contribute to the same raised risk of stomach cancer.
Why Pharmaceutical Companies are to Blame
Why are pharmaceutical companies to blame for this increased risk of stomach cancer? They should be blamed not only because of the statistical fact that using their PPI drugs increases the danger of stomach cancer as a PPI side effect, but also because they have failed to warn and alert the public and the medical community of this reality.
Not a single PPI drug includes a warning that their use is linked to a heightened danger of suffering stomach cancer -- not in advertisements for the drug, not in the medication guide given to patients and not in the prescribing information given to physicians.
At the least, drug companies could warn that long-term use of their drugs is especially a concern when it comes to stomach cancer. Yet even though study after study shows this risk from long-term use, drug companies do not acknowledge that it exists.